WILKES-BARRE – Known for helping those in need, The Salvation Army is now in need of help: Its Red Kettle Campaign risks coming up short in raising money for services provided well beyond the holidays.
The campaign has two more weeks to go and is on pace to raise slightly more than $100,000, said Lt. Ted Tressler, commanding officer of the Salvation Army's Wilkes-Barre Corps.
But the goal is much higher at $167,000, the same amount raised last year, he said Sunday.
We only go to Christmas Eve, so time is drifting away from us, Tressler said.
The donations are down from past years, and Tressler attributed it to a combination of things.
Donations were at approximately 65 percent of where they were at this time last year, he said.
The still-slow local economy, high area unemployment, shortage of volunteers for shifts at the kettles and a shortened bell-ringing season outside stores and businesses have contributed to the shortfall to date.
Retailer giant Walmart allowed kettles to be set up outside stores starting on Black Friday, Nov. 23. Other stores such as Price Chopper and JCPenney set a Dec. 1 starting date.
Money collected during the campaign goes toward the holiday toy and dinner programs.
It also funds the food bank, social services, counseling, children's and seniors' programs, the Kirby House transitional housing program and summer camp for children.
This is our major fundraiser for the year, Tressler said.
We could always use more people.
He encouraged people to drop change or bills into the kettles or stop by the corps' office at 17 S. Pennsylvania Ave. to make a donation by cash, check or credit card.
This is our culture's season of giving. The Salvation Army's is 12 months a year, he said.
For information on how to volunteer for or donate to The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign, call the Wilkes-Barre Corps' office at 570-824-8741.