"Red Kettle" campaign improving - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

"Red Kettle" campaign improving

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December 11, 2003

Albany-- Each holiday season you see Salvation Army volunteers ringing bells by their red kettles. The spare change you give helps people in need. A year ago, there wasn't much to sound off about. This year, volunteers are singing, or rather ringing, for joy.

Harry Simmons has been ringing bells since 1987, "I think the crowd was a little bigger last year, but it is early and a little cold." The cold isn't stopping Harry, or shoppers, from dropping money into the Salvation Army's kettle. But, Harry's noticed something a bit unusual this year, "The donations seem to be larger, mostly bills instead of change."

Cadet Michael Harris says, "One day we pulled out two one-hundred dollar bills out of the bucket."

The Salvation Army's "Red Kettle" campaign is actually climbing out of the red. Last year, donations were about half of what they expected. Harris says, "One of the things we've had to do, for instance, and this is a great testimony to the employees of the Salvation Army, is we've had no janitorial staff. Literally the bookkeepers, secretaries, those that are around clean up best they can. We would rather sacrifice in those kind of areas than services."

Donations might not be strong enough to get back the cleaning service, but each dollar is making sure the services stay intact--and that's music to the ears.

The Salvation Army trimmed their "Red Kettle" Campaign goal to 65,000 dollars. Cadet Harris thinks donations will come about ten thousand dollars shy their goal. Still, that's a vast improvement over last year's collection of 45,000 dollars.

Posted at 4:30 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com