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Salvation Army kettle collections are higher than usual for this time of the month as collections continue through Christmas Eve. The agency’s goal is to raise $80,000.
Money from kettles reached $58,000, about 73 percent of the goal, by Monday, said Capt. Joseph May, Salvation Army service director for Hardin County.
“We’re doing really well,” he said.
The increase might have come because of a somewhat controversial practice the local organization is using for the first time, May said.
Some bell ringers at key locations are being paid to cover those places when volunteers aren’t available. That is especially true at outdoor kettles, where it’s harder to get volunteers.
The money paid is nominal compared to what having bell ringers at those locations brings in, May said.
“With the return we get, we just can’t turn them down,” he said.
May said there is great volunteer support in the area.
He isn’t sure at this point how many are volunteering. He thinks it’s comparable to past years.
“It’s encouraging that we have such support for a community like Elizabethtown,” he said.
Spots for bell ringers remain open for this weekend and Christmas Eve. To volunteer, call the organization’s thrift store at (270) 234-0833.
Not all news is good.
Contributions toward the $35,000 goal for mailed gifts are down by about 20 percent compared to this time last year. May isn’t sure why.
Money raised through mail gifts and kettles is used to buy items needed by area families for Christmas. This year, gifts are expected to help about 230 families consisting of about 825 adults and children, May said.
“It’s humbling because it’s just such a huge operation, and there are so many people who have needs this Christmas,” he said. “The service opportunity is so large.”
Leftover money goes toward paying for Salvation Army operations and helping families in need with expenses such as food, clothing, rent and utilities.
Fewer applications than usual have been submitted to the local Salvation Army from those seeking help.
That might be because there are fewer residents in need, but the tough economy makes it hard to assume that’s the reason, May said.
He said he appreciates the community’s support.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.