Salvation Army expects to meet Red Kettle goal.

12/24/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Bitterly cold weather earlier in the month, along with a shorter shopping season, has had an impact on the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign this year, but thanks to a last-minute surge in giving, the goal of $65,000 is still expected to be met.

"These cold days we've been having really kind of, between that and the shorter season with Thanksgiving coming later in November, has affected some of our donations at the kettles," said Jeff Curran, co-commanding officer at the Salvation Army. "When you get these bitter, cold temperatures, people don't want to get out."

The campaign kicked off Nov. 19 at Dillon's East and Dillon's West and after Thanksgiving, bell ringers were also located at Walgreens, Walmart, Sam's Club, JCPenney, Sears and Daylight Donuts.

Curran said that despite the obstacles, he is pleased with what he's seen this year.

"I think people have been very generous this year, from what we've seen at the kettles," he said.

Curran said that so far, $42,000 has been raised through the campaign, the bell ringing portion of which ends this evening. This year's goal was $65,000.

"We have a matching grant for the last few days — someone's matching what the kettles take in. Basically, every dollar that's put in there is like $2 for us. With that, I think we'll be really close to our goal," Curran said. "And so far, the days where it's being matched have been the days where it has really picked up, as far as the donations that were coming into the kettles. So we're really excited about that."

A Facebook post asking if people regularly give to the Red Kettle campaign garnered a number of responses. One of the more common obstacles cited for not giving is having no cash or change handy, due to the use of credit and debit cards to make purchases.

"I usually don't have anything on me to put in the kettle because of my debit card. Not that it's easier to use than cash, but it does take up less space in my wallet," said April Cobble of Liberal.

Kinlee Scheer of Lakin said that she also uses a card when shopping, but said that when she does have change, she is sure to drop it in a kettle.

DT Carr of Garden City said that her family also uses a debit card to make purchases the majority of the time, so she never has spare change to give — instead, she said they donate an extra toy to the Salvation Army's Angel Tree every year.

Others make it a point to have cash or change on them.

"I always pull cash out during the season, knowing I will be using it for the kettles," said Mike Scheiman of Garden City. "Our kids love putting money in there and we ensure they know why they do it."

In spite of experiencing their own tough times, Angela Diaz of Garden City said that when they go shopping, her 9-year-old daughter always takes along her own change to place in the kettles.

Elena Ramos of Holcomb said she always tries to have extra money on her and tries to give some at every store she goes to.

"I love feeling great knowing that I am giving to a good cause," Ramos said.

Curran said that because the campaign itself is ongoing, people will have the opportunity to give even after the holidays are over.

"The campaign really continues through the whole year," he said.

Funds collected through the campaign comprise about 15 percent of the organization's overall yearly budget and 90 percent of it is used for programs such as the Youth Activity Center, youth summer day camps, after-school programs, the food pantry, emergency housing, clothing and utility assistance. The other 10 percent goes to the Salvation Army headquarters to pay for services it provides to the Garden City location.

To make a donation or for more information, contact the Salvation Army at 276-4027.

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