CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Salvation Army bell ringers are a part of the Christmas time ambiance when families are out shopping. But this year donations are down.
Right now, the Charleston area Salvation Army is $27,000 short of where they were this time last year in terms of donations to the red kettles. If things don’t turn around, it could impact many services in 2022.
Charleston firefighters volunteered to collect donations for the Salvation Army Friday. One of the people who stopped by to give was Joyce Walsh.
“I always donate but I didn’t have any cash with me so I went back in,” Walsh said, referencing the Kroger store behind her. She was shocked to hear that donation numbers are off track for the season.
“I feel sad. I think we can do better as a community. We need to help each other so this is one good way to do it,” she said.
Leaders with the Salvation Army say they aren’t sure exactly why people aren’t giving as much as they have in previous years.
“I think there are a number of reasons. One we don’t have as many volunteers this year, we don’t have as many bell ringers. I don’t know if the economy is playing a role in this,” explained Area Commander for the Charleston Salvation Army Major Joseph May.
May said the fundraising goal for this season was $200,000. Right now they are only halfway there with just days to go. That is raising concerns heading into 2022. After paying for Christmas-related outreach they need what is left to fund social services.
“Money we still have goes to pay for our services throughout the year through our food pantry, rent and utility payments, helping fund our boys and girls club programs,” May said. “The things that we do throughout the year rely on the money from our red kettles.”
If you don’t plan to go out where you’ll be near one of those red kettles you can give online. You can get more information here.