Local Salvation Army’s Fall Short On 2019 Red Kettle Campaigns

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The holidays are officially over and so is the 2019 Red Kettle Campaign for the Salvation Army and both the Fort Smith and Fayetteville locations fell short of their goals.

The Fort Smith Salvation Army ended the 2019 Red Kettle season short $55,000 of their $210,000 goal. Director of Development Susan Adams thinks this year a lot of people made donations during the historic flooding in May.

"Most people only have allotted amount of donation money in their budget, so they gave during the flood, so this year they didn't have to give at Christmas," Adams said. "I see other organizations say they are down as well."

Adams says they are having a meeting next week to reevaluate their services. She says the best-case scenario is they modify their services and possibly only give out pantry bags once a week instead of every day. She says what did help them this year was having so many people volunteer to ring the bell.

"By having an increase in volunteers that offsets our cost because we do have to hire bell ringers occasionally because you just can't get enough volunteers to do that," Adams said.

In Northwest Arkansas, the goal was $420,000 and only $304,000 was raised.

Northwest Arkansas Area Commander Joshua Robinette thinks part of the reason for not getting as many donations was because Thanksgiving was late this year, giving them fewer days to ring the bell at some locations.

"We don't anticipate that we are going to disrupt or discontinue any of the services we provide to the community," Robinette said. "As we go along through the year and as we do in any year, we'll continue to monitor the finances and make strategic moves."

Robinette says just like many other non-profits, they have seen a decrease in giving over the past several years. He says a lot of people did donate right before 2020 rolled around.

"It helps us make up that gap of what our goal was and so we're closer to that and we're fairly confident as we are starting this new year that we will be able to meet needs here in Northwest Arkansas," Robinette said.

The Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas Salvation Army both say they are very grateful for everyone who volunteered this holiday season and they encourage anyone who hasn’t rang the bell to volunteer for Red Kettle season in 2020.

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