Salvation Army falls short of goal
The Salvation Army of Lee County concluded its Red Kettle campaign on Dec. 24 and fundraisers estimate the organization missed its goal by approximately $100,000.
The community organization has been helping residents of Southwest Florida since the 1950’s, but this year it experienced a 70 percent increase in the number of families seeking assistance for food.
This Christmas The Salvation Army set a goal of raising $600,000 in its Red Kettle campaign — a countywide fundraising initiative that has become a staple at local grocery stores. As of this week the organization only raised around $520,000.
Not only is the kettle drive down by $80,000, but Major Art Penhale, corps officer for The Salvation Army of Lee County, said the organization’s Christmas mail appeal — where residents send donations via mail — isn’t taking in as much as it did last year.
Less donations for The Salvation Army, which helped 4,900 families this year alone, could mean rationed services for everybody in 2010.
“The only thing we can do is look at which services we can cut back or trim,” said Penhale. “Or how we can close the gap, and we’re going to be looking at a couple options.”
The Salvation Army will continue collecting donations, he said, and officials will search for any grants to continue helping members of the community with utility and food assistance.
Overall, general donations were also down this year by 30 percent.
Any decisions to change services will likely happen after Jan. 1 but officials are still counting the last of the holiday donations.
Jacquie Williams, a spokesperson for The Salvation Army, said kettles are still coming in from nearby communities and that workers are still determining a final amount for the Red Kettle Campaign. But even with some additional donations coming in, officials are confident that shortages will remain at close to $100,000.
For more information on The Salvation Army or to make a donation, visit www.salvationarmyleecounty.org .