The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign ended on Christmas Day and several of the chapters in the state found they had fallen short of their goal. Major David Corliss in Des Moines says they were hoping the money dropped in the kettle would hit$2.1-million this campaign. “At this point we’ve raised $955,068 — so we’ve got a ways to go yet,” Corliss says.
Lia Pontarelli, the Director of Development & Communications for the Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids, says they also fell short of their goal. “Typically when the Red Kettle (Campaign) ends, we are still trying to make the goal, so it is not unusual for us to still be behind,” Pontarelli says. “We are 55-thousand dollars behind where we were at this stage last year though — so that is unusual.”
Pontarelli says bitter cold and snow weather was one of the things that set back the campaign. “That makes people not want to go out and volunteer as a bell ringer, and unfortunately a red kettle without bell ringer really doesn’t make any money. You could see maybe three dollars in an unmanned kettle versus a manned kettle that could bring in a couple hundred to a thousand dollars,” Pontarelli explains.
The calendar also magnified the days lost to weather.”Having Thanksgiving start later in the month this year in November — that kind gave us a shorter window at the holiday season,” according to Pontarelli. “People really don’t start getting into that really big giving spirit until after Thanksgiving. That definitely played a part in it as well this year, unfortunately.”
Both Corliss and Pontarelli are hoping people looking for a chance to get a tax break will donate to the Salvation Army before the end of the year. He says they do a lot with the money they raise. “Throughout the year we provide rent, utilities, groceries, prescription assistance, all kinds of personal need items. We provide a breakfast feed program to about 900 homeless every Tuesday and Friday morning,” Corliss says.
There are signs in many areas that Iowa’s economy is picking back up after the recession. But, Corliss says the recovery hasn’t yet made it to the people they serve.
“We have not noticed a change in that because the individuals that we serve are at the very bottom of the rung,” according to Corlis. “So they are the very first to be hit by and economic downturn and the last to feel the recover from an economic downturn.” Pontarelli agrees that the need hasn’t eased off. “I think it increases a little bit more as time goes by because there are people who have been trying to make it by on a savings or smaller income, and as time goes by you just can’t do that anymore,” Pontarelli says.
Corliss says this fundraising is important to the programs they do the rest of the year. “We don’t receive any government funds nor do we receive any funds form the United Way, so it’s upon the individuals that give to us themselves,” Corliss says.
Pontarelli says the money given to the Salvation Army whether it be Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Sioux City or anywhere else will help your community. “Everything you donate to a red kettle or mail in to a corps, it stays in the corps in the community that you are giving in,” Pontarelli says. Corliss and Pontarelli say you can go online to find donate to your local Salvation Army Corps or mail a donation.