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2 days left, Salvation Army far from goal

December 22, 2018

Those red kettles outside retail stores in the Fort Wayne area aren’t exactly boiling over.

The familiar Christmastime Salvation Army donation bins staffed by bell ringers have garnered only 52 percent of their fundraising goal : with only two days left for giving.

That’s according to Salvation Army Maj. Geoff Crowley, who said the local unit of the charity hopes to raise $290,000 from the kettles.

So far, they’ve brought in $156,000, he said.

The kettles, plus an end-of-year holiday mail appeal, raise about half of the unit’s annual $1 million budget, Crowley said.

The goal for both drives is $482,000, he said.

Crowley said the increase in online shopping means fewer people going out to brick-and-mortar stores where the Salvation Army has kettles. Bell ringers have been harder to find in a time of low unemployment, he added.

And, more people are paying with credit and debit cards and don’t carry cash to put in a kettle, Crowley said. The local Salvation Army previously tried a machine that took credit and debit cards, he said. But the machines are costly, and some donors balked because they didn’t get printed receipts.

The Salvation Army previously has faced gaps in its red kettle drives.

Last year, about two weeks before Christmas, the charity had met only 21 percent of its goal. In previous years, the campaign often reached at least 40 percent of its goal with two weeks remaining.

Recently, individual donors stepped forward with last-minute large donations to make up shortfalls.

Ringers will be out all day today and until late afternoon Monday. Ringers do not ring on Sundays.

“We’re a Christian organization,” Crowley said.

He added that Christmas Day doesn’t have to be the deadline for giving.

Donors seeking an income tax deduction have until Dec. 31 and can donate online at donate.salvationarmy.org or in person at 2901 N. Clinton St., he said.

rsalter@jg.net

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