Created: 12/08/2013 6:32 PM WHEC.com
By: Chalonda Roberts
The Salvation Army is making a plea for help. Its Red Kettle Campaign is in trouble this year.
Leaders worry the Salvation Army won't reach its annual goal. That means hundreds of local families could feel the impact this holiday season.
The Salvation Army says it is more than $300,000 short of that goal, partly because Thanksgiving was a week later than usual.
The money raised each year helps to run dozens of programs like the homeless shelters. It also pays for things like toys and food during the holidays.
On Sunday Major Douglas Hart, who works with the local chapter of the Salvation Army, spoke with News10NBC about how the community can help.
For starters, the Salvation Army has had a tough time recruiting volunteers this year. There are 400 kettle sites that are going unmanned. The Salvation Army can't really explain why. Last year at this time the Red Kettle Campaign was thousand of dollars closer to its goal.
This is a critical time. These are the highest impact days between now and Christmas. The campaign ends Christmas Day.
News10NBC spoke with Major Douglas Hart about this year's struggles. He said he has been an officer for 30 years and has never experienced a shortage like this.
When asked about providing incentives to help recruit more volunteer bell ringers, Major Hart said people who volunteer for the Salvation Army do it because they want to give back to the community.
“A lot of families wan to do this because they want their children to learn the values about serving others and not expecting anything in return, and perhaps doing something good for someone that you don't even know or you'll never meet,” said Major Hart.
Given the critical financial shortage of the Red Kettle Campaign, News10NBC asked Major Hart about having bell ringers volunteer on Sundays. Historically, the Salvation Army has never run its campaign on Sundays.
Major Hart said it has always been a dilemma for the agency, given Sundays are the busiest shopping days of the week during the holiday season.
“It's just that we feel for our faith-based reasons we don't shop on Sundays and we try not to do any fund raising on Sundays, but more than that, we don't want to take away the opportunity from them to go to their houses of worship, and if we are asking them to ring bells, we are asking them to give up that opportunity,” said Major Hart.
Right now the Red Kettle Campaign has raised $250,000 and the goal is to reach $560,000. Next Saturday at Eastview Mall Von Maur will do its part by matching donations for the campaign at Eastview up to $10,000.
If you would like to volunteer for the Salavation Army, click here.