Christmas kettle drive falls short


Likely an indicator of the local economy, the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign here fell short of its fundraising goal last month.
The kettles brought in nearly $15,000, not quite reaching the target number of $18,000, Capt. Angel Sandoval said this morning.
He conceded that with the current economy, including everything from gas prices to the shutdown at the local mill, more people have been tightening their belts.
That said, $14,925 is no small sum and will help the Salvation Army help district families, Capt. Sandoval noted.
“We are so grateful to receive those donations from the community,” he stressed. “Thanks to them, we can accomplish some of the work that we have here.
“We are grateful to those who supported us through volunteer work, and even to the workers of the Salvation Army, who did a good percentage of the campaign,” added Capt. Sandoval.
The number of Christmas kettle volunteers was down, too, he noted.
But he added the ministry is “so grateful” to those who did help out ringing the bells, whether they be hockey teams like the Muskies and Lakers, local businesses like Gillons’ Insurance, or churches like the Evangelical Fellowship Church (Knox United Church also did a food drive to give a boost to the ministry’s Christmas campaign).
“To reach the [$14,925], it was a miracle because every day was slower and slower and slower,” Capt. Sandoval recalled.
“The amount of work we were putting into that was so high all the time.”
Thanks to the community, whether it be through kettle donations or programs like “Adopt-a-Family” and Sponsor-a-Family,” the Salvation Army distributed 207 Christmas hampers to district families in need last month.
But Capt. Sandoval noted the Salvation Army is a “whole-year ministry,” and their mandate to help those in need doesn’t stop now that Christmas is over.
“You can believe we opened the door yesterday and we had at least 10 people looking for food,” he said, adding that whatever they have in their food bank right now “is going to move very quickly from our hands into the hands of the needy.”
Capt. Sandoval said he is reviewing the 2011 financial figures right now and soon will be preparing a statement to the community to let everyone know what the ministry has done this past year, and how it is doing financially as 2012 begins.
Looking ahead to April, Capt. Sandoval said the Salvation Army plans to hold a volunteer appreciation dinner as a way to say thanks to all those who have lent a hand in the past year.