Mixed results in Salvation Army kettle drive

January 03, 1998

Mixed results in Salvation Army kettle drive


Staff Writer

The season of giving provided mixed results for Tri-State area Salvation Army chapters, which say some kettles filled faster than others.

The Hagerstown chapter reported taking in just under $50,000 in donations at its nine kettle locations, having set a goal in November of raising $55,000 during the holiday season at its nine kettle locations.

"It's always a disappointment when you don't make a goal," said Harry Barger, business administrator for the Hagerstown chapter.

Barger said what makes not meeting the goal even more of a problem is that the Hagerstown chapter expects to see a cut in its annual appropriation from the United Way of Washington County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also cutting assistance to various Washington County agencies by $9,000 this year, he said.


"It's a combination of things, and it just means we'll have to work harder and watch our pennies, and our expenses," he said.

The Martinsburg, W.Va., Salvation Army reported approximately donations of $35,000 at its nine locations, which was higher than the $30,000 it had targeted for a goal.

Maj. David Johnston, commanding officer of the Martinsburg chapter, said a last-minute rush of giving helped push the drive over the top, as many people decided how much money they had left over from shopping to give.

"The last week was a good one," Johnston said.

He said it also helped that a new location opened this year at a Wal-Mart in Charles Town.

The Salvation Army in Chambersburg, Pa., reported kettle donations of $87,308 for the season at its 14 locations. The chapter did not set a goal.

The kettle drives are very important to the Salvation Army chapters, which spend the donated coins and dollars during the holiday season and beyond on various programs that help the poor and needy. Programs include shelter housing, food pantries and soup kitchens.

And demand for programs is increasing, as welfare-reform measures force more and more people off of public assistance and into jobs, Barger said.

"We're seeing people going back to work, but they are in minimum-wage jobs," he said.

Because many people are still in need some kind of assistance, they often turn to agencies like the Salvation Army, he said.

"I think it's going to continue to be that way," Johnston said.

He said the increase in demand was evident when his chapter increased its number of Christmas food baskets for the needy from 450 in 1996 to 550 this past season.

"We have more of those who need us," he said.

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