Fewer people have been volunteering to help with the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign this year in Wisconsin. And that’s having an effect on donations.
With a week to go in this year’s Red Kettle Campaign, Chris Ziemba of the Salvation Army of Dane County says it’s been a challenge this year to get volunteers signed up to ring bells at storefronts. Ziemba says kettle donations are down this year and it's unlikely they'll make their $700,000 fundraising goal before Christmas.
“We’re actually down about $100,000 compared to last year, so it’s been steady, but we’ve seen a downtrend in comparison to last year’s donations," he says.
Dane County isn’t the only chapter of the Salvation Army that could fall short if its goal this year. Robert Thompson is the Divisional Commander for the Salvation Army of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. He says in addition to having fewer volunteers, some of the donations that usually go to the Red Kettles went to Hurricane Sandy Relief. And Thompson says, many are worried about the economy.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the uncertainty of what’s going to happen with the economy," he says. "And you know, I think people are taking care of family needs and holding everything and not knowing what the next few months will hold for them.”
Money collected in the Red Kettles pays for several programs in local communities including homeless shelters and food pantries. Wisconsin’s Salvation Army chapters raise a combined total of more than $16 million annually.