Holiday shoppers in Western Pennsylvania are used to seeing the yearly appearance of Salvation Army red kettles and bell ringers, but it seems that they are ignoring them a bit more often this year.
Despite reports of a Good Black Friday for retailers, the Western Pennsylvania Division of The Salvation Army said it is more than $91,000 behind last year’s Red Christmas Kettle Campaign earnings.
Major William Bode, Divisional Commander for 28 western Pennsylvania counties said while donations have been slow to come in, the needy have not.
“We will be serving more people this Christmas,” said Bode. “More people are coming to us. More people are coming to our soup kitchens. More people will be receiving coats, and clothing, and toys. So we are a little concerned.”
Bode said the lag in donations could be due to people still donating money to victims of Hurricane Sandy. He also said it’s possible people can’t donate because of tough economic times or maybe they are just are not “in the Christmas spirit yet.”
Bode said the Salvation Army first introduced online kettles last year, which has been very appealing in today's busy world.
“It’s easy to be done and you don’t have to go out in the cold necessarily and ring the bell,” said Bode. “You can be in your own office or at home and have your friends and relatives and raise money for the Salvation Army.”
Last December 16th, the Western PA Division was $74,000 behind in its goal of $2.5 million. This year, they are looking to collect slightly more than $2.8 million.