Salvation Army kettle donations fall short
Salvation Army Maj. David Cope said he was amazed at the community outpouring to provide Christmas to the young, disabled and elderly residents in the region through the Christmas Angel program.
While residents have made sure 454 children in the community have a happy Christmas, Cope said he was still concerned about the Salvation Army having enough funds to carry out its mission through the winter months.
The recognizable red kettle fundraiser is the largest fundraiser the organization does each year to assist needy families through the winter. However, this year's kettle donations are about $18,000 short of where the total was this same time last year.
Cope said part of the reason for the shortfall is because the bell ringing always begins right before Thanksgiving, which fell a week later than usual. A week can make a huge difference in donations, he said.
For example, someone placed a $1,000 check in the red kettle last week at Kmart in Waynesville.
"If we could just get a few more donations like that, we'd be in good shape," Cope said. "People have been so generous, but their are still families that will need fuel, utility assistance and food assistance through the winter months."
The Salvation Army also did something out of the ordinary this year by providing families with a small turkey for Thanksgiving and a small ham for Christmas.
"We stepped out on faith and gave everyone a turkey along with their food this year," he said. "I like to have a ham on Christmas so how could I have it and give hungry citizens a can of beef stew?"
Another reason for the shortage is probably due to the increase in need here in Western North Carolina. Cope said there were 150 more children in need for Christmas than last year. But the community has stepped up to meet that need.
There are still many angels hanging on the tree at Walmart that people can take "adopt" and buy Christmas gifts for before the Haywood County distribution on Dec. 20.
The Salvation Army will continue the kettle fundraiser at many locations throughout the county until 6 p.m. Dec. 24 or donations can also be mailed in to the Salvation Army. For more information, call 456-7111.