Albany-- The Salvation Army's annual "Red Kettle" campaign is in jeopardy--donations are down by more than 30%.
After a year of dwindling contributions, this is yet another financial blow to the non-profit organization that supplies food, shelter and clothing to needy people. Now, the Salvation Army is being forced to trim back this Christmas, and hundreds of Southwest Georgia children could pay the price.
"Good morning. Merry Christmas."
These bell ringers wrists are moving non-stop--the twinkling sound reminding people to place a few pennies in the red kettle. In the sixty minutes these volunteers ring bells donations are pretty steady. Volunteer bell ringer Nancy Ellason says, "We've had some generous people." But, not as generous as in years past.
Salvation Army leader, Major Jim Amburgey says, "This year right around 2,000 children we've promised Christmas too and its going to be real tough giving them Christmas."
Crates of new toys, earmarked for 2,000 needy children, are being shipped back. Donations from the Red Kettle campaign--the Salvation Army's biggest money-maker--are down more than $50,000 from last year, $100,000 dollars from the year before that.
Amburgey says, "We are just going to throw in the towel on those toys. Hopefully we'll get enough local help to supply them with toys and we might have to give some used toys this year. We've never done that before, but we might have too."
While every penny is a welcome gift--those gifts are becoming more scarce.
Last year, the Albany Salvation Army helped more than 8-thousand people during Christmas. Besides toys, the Salvation Army provides groceries and clothing for families.