Salvation Army Reports Donations Up After Pleas With PM-Christmas Displays Bjt
Undated (AP) _ People full of the spirit of holiday giving ″have been responding magnificently,″ a Salvation Army spokesman said as donations surged after reports that the organization would have to turn away aid applicants because of a drop in contributions.
″Because of the added publicity, the funds are starting to come in at a much quicker pace than the week before,″ Lt. Col. Leon Ferraez, the Salvation Army’s national communications director, said Monday from the group’s headquarters in Verona, N.J.
″We operate on faith, and we have had some anxiety this month,″ he said.
He stressed that ″the demand for help has not decreased″ in the last week, but that he didn’t think anyone would be turned away. Requests for aid have surged this year, by as much as 63 percent in the Northeast.
Last week, Ferraez estimated that mail donations in the early days of the Christmas fund-raising season were down 8 percent, and that kettle donations nationwide were up but not enough to make up for the mail shortfall. Now, he said, he hopes that the wave of donations will bring the year’s total about equal to or even above last year’s $50 million.
″The people have been responding magnificently,″ he said.
In Michigan, ″the media stories have helped to remind people that although the economy is up, there still is a need,″ Lois Dugay, community relations and development director for the eastern Michigan division of the Salvation Army, said Monday.
″Income is picking up. We’re just slightly ahead of where we were last year. Last week we were $100,000 behind last year,″ she said.
In Knoxville, Tenn., ″the collections were way behind until the news media picked it up,″ said Maj. Herbert Bergen, commanding officer of the Salvation Army, noting that the branch was within $15,000 of its goal. ″We feel like if the money comes in today (Monday) and tomorrow and the few checks we usually get after Christmas, we’ll be able to meet our goal of $120,000 and pay our bills,″ said Bergen. ″The public has really been good.″
In at least one city, last-minute applicants for help will probably not receive assistance today. In Fort Wayne, Ind., Maj. Paul Fuqua said his unit could not assist as many families as it had hoped. He said 1,325 families sought help, compared with 1,100 last year.
Fuqua said the Fort Wayne unit had raised only $123,000 of a goal of $150,000.
But Maj. Ralph E. Thomas of the Rhode Island Salvation Army in Providence said Monday that $3,475 in kettle donations came in Friday, the best single day in his memory. Saturday also was outstanding, but the donations had not been counted, he said.
The Salvation Army in Albuquerque, N.M., issued a plea for assistance Friday. ″We ran out completely, totally. We had no food, no toys, no nothing,″ said Salvation Army Supervisor Johnny King.
He said Monday that hundreds of people dropped off toys, food and clothing over the weekend.
Houston’s Salvation Army stepped up television, radio and newspaper advertisements to combat the drop-off in donations. As of Sunday, the local chapter had received $336,000 in donations, compared with $336,044 last year, Maj. Emery Frierson, city commander, said Monday.
One of the first Salvation Army branches to raise the possibility of turning people away was Boston on Dec. 16. But donations were so good after that announcement that ″all of a sudden they have a problem of where they’re going to store the food,″ Ferraez said. ″It’s been remarkable.″
The Salvation Army, a religious group that is organized like a military unit, has about 1,000 large centers to aid the needy and homeless, plus 9,000 smaller office that can refer people to the larger centers. Each branch conducts its own fund-raising and its own aid projects, so precise figures on donations are not available, Ferraez said.