Major Jason Poff, with the Salvation Army, says the Red Kettle Campaign in the Des Moines area has only brought in about $136,000 so far, but the agency needs $400,000.
“I am worried, for sure, because we raise about a third of our operating budget at this time of the year when we’re most prominent,” Poff says. “It does make us consider how we’re going to have to adjust our budget.” The charity runs two area food pantries, helps low-income residents with rent and utilities, and offers holiday gifts to 2,400 central Iowa kids.
Poff says he’s confident donations will pick up soon. “These last two weeks last year were pretty profitable,” Poff says. “As it gets closer to Christmas, people get more in the giving spirit and Christmas is on their mind and we start to see the donations go up.” More volunteer bell-ringers are needed to help collect coins and cash outside businesses.
Signing up to ring anywhere in Iowa is easy at the website RegisterToRing.com. “We ask for a minimum two-hour volunteer time,” Poff says. “You can go on there and pick your location. It’ll even send you a reminder, ‘Hey, don’t forget you signed up to ring this Saturday at this place,’ and then at the end, it’ll tell you how much you helped us raise that day.”
While there have been a few small silver bars dropped in central Iowa kettles this season, he says no gold coins have been plunked in — yet.