Bad weather and a shorter fundraising season are taking their toll on the Salvation Army's Red kettle Campaign this year. Maj. Don Hostetler, commander of the Salvation Army's Empire State Division, says at first the season was actually tracking ahead of last year. But heavy snowfalls and a stretch of bitter cold temperatures dampened a strong start, resulting in the charity's late season push to reach their $4 million goal.
"As the kettles are out, it is all the more important for people to take the opportunity to put money into the kettles. Perhaps the quarter they were going to put in could be a dollar, and perhaps the dollar could be a five or something like that, acknowledging that there have been fewer occasions and fewer places where the kettles have been able to go out."
Hostetler also says fewer people have been seeing the symbolic red kettles, and volunteers have had to bundle up and face the elements outside the stores.
"On a day to day comparison, we're lagging behind last year. And as the season is winding down we are really asking the public to be particularly conscious every time they see a red kettle that the money they put into that kettle goes to serve people in need right there in the community where that kettle is located."
Although some individual units may continue ringing their bells between Christmas and New Year's Day, most campaigns end on Christmas Eve. However, the Major says there are still plenty of ways to donate after the bells stop ringing, including through the organization's online red kettle, calling the Salvation Army at 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by sending a $10 text donation. A report should be released early in 2014 highlighting the campaign's results.