Army's kettles feeling light

Kettle collections down $18,000 from last year

Officials with the Jefferson City Salvation Army are putting on a “full-court press” to try and get donations to meet their fundraising goals for this holiday season.

Maj. Kendall Mathews, regional coordinator for Mid-Missouri, said they are down $18,000 in their red kettle and mail campaign donations, combined, from where they were last year at this time.

“Both are really the heartbeat of our ability to provide services,” he said.

For the two efforts combined, Mathews said they are looking to collect $223,000.

“Last year, we had a goal of $190,000 and we ended up bringing in $223,000,” he said. “That’s why we thought we would have another good year even though the economy is down. The people dug deep last year, but maybe people are finding it difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year. We haven’t had our first snow and the first snow puts people in the Christmas spirit. We’ve had Black Friday, Thanksgiving, but no snow and no spirit of giving.”

Mathews said kettle donations are down in Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia and many other locations around the country.

“The Angel Tree Program has also suffered because people haven’t pulled tags off trees to buy items for needy children,” he said. “If we can’t reach our goals, we potentially could have to serve less people, either through social service programs or through the shelter.”

Mathews said they have served at least 200 more families in the shelter than they did last year at this time.

“The shelter is at 85 to 95 percent capacity with larger families coming in,” he said. “We’ve got one family made up of one lady with six children and she’s expecting another. Where would we be if we had to turn her away? We can’t do that.”

Mathews said putting on a full-court press means if they have to pay people to man kettles, they’ll do it.

“We had been trying to cut down on expenses by using volunteers, but now we’ve got to have every kettle location manned these next two weeks,” he said. “If you can’t give say $20 like you did last year, give what you can afford. We’re not asking people to go above and beyond, just do what you can.”

Donations can be sent to 927 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, MO, 65101.

Checks should be made out to The Salvation Army.

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