12/06/05 — Local Salvation Army kettles are a little bare this Christmas

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Local Salvation Army kettles are a little bare this Christmas

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 6, 2005 1:53 PM

The Salvation Army's kettle campaign is in trouble.

"Our kettles are running behind last year," said Maj. Andrew Wiley, local Salvation Army commander.

This year's kettle campaign goal is $70,000. But the Salvation Army has barely topped $12,000, Wiley said. More than $80,000 was raised last year, he added.

"A lot of it, I think, is the impact of so much with hurricanes and other disasters around the country," he said. "It's just made for a difficult fundraising."

Wiley said the Salvation Army's letter campaign to donors is also falling behind this year. "I really feel like it's the impact of so much charitable giving early on that people are just maybe given out or are not thinking about the needs at home right now. But the needs are just as real at home."

The kettles were set out at various locations in Wayne County the day after Thanksgiving and will remain out until Christmas eve. They are at both entrances to Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sam's Club, the JCPenney entrance into the mall, Michael's, Goody's and Big Lots.

Wiley said the Salvation Army really needs the community to support the kettle campaign by volunteering their time to ring the bells or by putting a donation into the familiar red buckets. A lot of civic groups ring the bells, but Wiley would like to see local businesses get involved, too.

"Maybe a local business could take one location for a day and send out employees for an hour each," he said. "Some bell ringers are volunteers. Others are paid. The more volunteers we have, the less paid workers we have to have."

No donation is too small, Wiley said. "A nickel, quarter in the pot helps a kid that hasn't got." Wiley said that's a little jingle he learned as a young man, which still very much applies today.

"Just a few coins -- if enough people do that, it adds up," he said. "Put those pennies in there. Every little bit does help. If folks could just do what they can afford to do, it will help."

Even if people might be procrastinating this year, Wiley said the way the kettle campaign is going now, that won't make up the difference.

Money raised from the kettle campaign is used for toys for local needy children, food boxes for families and seniors and small remembrance gifts to nursing home clients and those at correctional facilities.

"Without the funds, we would have to limit what we do," Wiley said.