The western Pennsylvania Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign fell short of this holiday season's higher goals by more than $680,000, but they are hoping to make up the difference.
Divisional Commander Major William Bode said there are still ways to donate, even though you won't see Red Kettles outside storefronts again until November.
"People can go online to the Salvation Army in western Pennsylvania and send a donation in through their credit card, or they can just write a check to the local Salvation Army or send it to our headquarters office," Bode said. "The money will be used in their local communities according to their zip codes when we receive the donations."
The campaign missed the overall goal of $6,350,000, which was 20 percent higher this year to account for an expected increase in need due to the slumping economy. The organization has already seen an increase in demand for its services with 113 percent more hot meals given and a 53 percent increase in people seeking help with prescriptions.
Bode said he thinks sometimes people don't understand their donations will return to their local communities.
"We want people to realize that the money doesn't go to some other state, or some other country. It stays right in their local community, so we use it right where people live with their neighbors," Bode said.
Bode said it's important to remember the need increases as the temperatures drop.
"We were hoping, all of us, for an Indian summer all winter, right? But the weather is now cold, and as the new utility bills come up they will be higher and people will have to make choices whether to pay the utility or buy food or buy prescriptions," Bode said.
Donations can be made online, or checks can be made out to The Salvation Army, with Christmas Campaign in the memo section, and mailed to the Western Pennsylvania Division Headquarters at PO Box 742, 700 North Bell Ave., Carnegie, PA 15106.