Salvation Army bell ringers banned at retail giant - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Salvation Army bell ringers banned at retail giant

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October 25, 2004

Albany - Bells ringing at malls and stores is a sure sign the holidays are approaching, but this year, a retail giant will not allow Salvation Army bell ringers.

Target wants to avoid favoritism, but the decision may put the Salvation Army thousands of dollars in the hole.

Major James Amburgey says, "They [bells] are off in the distance, you can hear them now."

Salvation Army Bell ringers will echo shopping centers soon, but you won't hear the bells at Target in Albany or at any other Target nationwide. Amburgey adds, "Those things will happen. It's a national problem, not a local problem. Target has been good to us here [in Albany] and we appreciate them very much and hopefully this will be worked out."

Target Corporation sent us a faxed statement, it states, "We recieve an increasing number of solicitation inquiries from non-profit organizations each year and determined that if we continue to allow the Salvation Army to solicit then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests. We communicated this decision to the Salvation Army in January."

Amburgey sighs, "It's our best location in town."

Target's Kettle Campaign brought in more than $8,000 last year, beating all participating stores in Albany, including Wal-mart and the mall. That's money the Salvation Army needs now, more than ever.  Amburgey agrees, "Yes. We've spent about $10,000 on stuff that we've taken down to the hurricane."

And they're already in debt. Amburgey admits, "We are roughly $50,000 in debt right now."

More money the Salvation Army will have to ring in at other stores.

The Kettle Campaign will start November 19th.

The Albany Salvation Army is planning to collect toys this year because they normally spend $15,000 on toys.

The Target Corporation donates more than two million dollars every week to charities.

posted at 5:15PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com