There are only six more bell-ringing days for the Salvation Army between now and Christmas; that’s one week to raise the remainder of their budgeted $37,500 for the Red Kettles. As of Dec. 14, just more than $18,000 has been brought in through the Red Kettles.
“It’s been a tough year for the kettles,” Salvation Army Captain Jeff Carter said. “Part of the reason is that the bell-ringing season is so much shorter this year, with Thanksgiving coming so late.”
Traditionally, bell ringing for the Salvation Army begins the day after Thanksgiving and goes through Christmas Eve.
“Some Salvation Army units start earlier, or keep the kettles out until New Year’s Eve,” Carter said, “but I really try to respect our community and the holidays, and will not keep the kettles out past the 24th of December.”
It’s not just in Jasper County the Salvation Army is struggling. Across the Salvation Army’s Western Division, including Western Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, and across the Central Territory, Salvation Army units are reporting a marked decrease in revenue compared to this time last year. In addition to the shortened season, other possible factors for the shortfall include severe weather and the general state of the economy.
The Red Kettles are not the only source of revenue for the Salvation Army. In addition to the bell ringing at local stores, the Salvation Army also solicits donations through the mail.
Between the various ways to give, the Salvation Army needs to raise $94,000 during this season or it will face the prospect of making some cutbacks in services. During the previous year, The Salvation Army provided more than 5,000 food boxes, provided rent and utility assistance to more than 300 families, and prescription assistance to 76 families. They also provided emergency lodging and transportations assistance.
“If we don’t reach our Christmas goal, we will have to revisit our budget after the first of the year to see what, if any cuts, will be necessary,” said Carter.
The Salvation Army of Newton is in need of bell ringers this season. There are spots open every day between now and Christmas Eve. Those interested in volunteering a few hours can call to find out more or make arrangements at (641) 792-6131.
In addition to donating at the Red Kettles, donations to the Salvation Army can be mailed to 301 N. Second Ave. E in Newton, or online at www.GiveSalvationArmy.org/christmas.
Staff writer Kate Malott may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.