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Salvation Army sets $600,000 Red Kettle goal

By Staff | Nov 19, 2011

The Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties announced Thursday that its holiday Red Kettle goal is $600,000, an increase from last year’s goal of $550,000.

“This year, reaching that goal is more important than ever,” Maj. Tom Louden of the Salvation Army said in a prepared statement. “Based on the needs of the community and what The Salvation Army does, it is imperative that this goal be met so we can continue to serve basic needs like food, shelter and social services.”

Merrilu Bennett, resource and media specialist for the Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties, said the $600,000 goal is to maintain all of the current levels of programs and services that it offers for the community.

“There is an increase in people asking for help and a decrease in funding,” she said.

Bennett said 90 cents for every dollar donated to the Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties goes directly back into the services and programs that they offer.

The goal last year was met thanks to nine anonymous donations of gold coins. The $550,000 helped provide nearly 47,000 toys to more than 10,000 children through the Christmas Cheer program, nearly 6,800 food baskets, along with more than 4,200 gifts to nursing homes.

Bennett said the application process for the Christmas Cheer program has been very similar to last year. She said they had a big turnout with people lining up outside beginning at 2 a.m. on the first day, Oct. 26.

“Then it spreads out a little bit,” Bennett said.

The last day to register for this year’s Christmas Cheer program is Tuesday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. until noon, at The Salvation Army, 10921 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.

“We don’t want people to miss the opportunity to sign up,” she said, stressing why she wants to emphasis the final day.

Applications will not be accepted without a valid Florida driver’s license or a Lee County picture ID and Social Security Card for adults; a Social Security Card or birth certificate for each child; and proof of income and benefits.

The Salvation Army provides children with toys and gifts, and families with traditional food baskets and a holiday meal through the Christmas Cheer program.