PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

December 17, 2012

Donations down for Salvation Army this holiday season

— Every time he sees one of the Salvation Army’s red kettles and hears that bell ringing, Scott Watjus digs into his pockets and pulls out whatever he can to help someone else.

“I donate every time I walk by because a lot of people need it more than I do,” the Nederland resident said as he walked out of the Walgreens on FM 365 and dropped some change into the bucket.

While Watjus has been doing his part this holiday season, the Salvation Army has been having trouble meeting its fundraising goal for the year. The need has increased this year for families in Mid and South Jefferson County, said Captain Ed Cheshire of the Salvation Army.

The charitable organization had around 400 families to provide assistance for last year and more than 500 families this year, Cheshire said. Right now, the Salvation Army is about $10,000 behind its fundraising goal, he said.

The goal this holiday season was to raise at least $70,000, Cheshire said. Last year, the Salvation Army received $69,000 in donations, he said, which was why he increased the amount another thousand dollars this year.

“We might make it to $60,000,” Cheshire said.

The Salvation Army has anywhere from 12 to 13 red kettles posted throughout the area, but some are only present on busy days when foot traffic is high, Cheshire said.

The funds raised by the organization do not just go toward Christmas assistance though. The money donated during the holiday season also provides funding that sustains year-round programs that help individuals and families with utilities, rent, food boxes, clothing, furniture and much more, according to a press release.

Cheshire said the reason for the downturn in donations could be that things are a little tight for everybody right now, but he still encouraged anyone who passed a red kettle to donate whatever they can.

Donations across the country have been down since the recession started in 2007, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Charitable giving increased by 0.9 percent in 2011 with donations totaling an estimated $298.4 billion — 11 percent below what it was in 2007. Donations reached $336 billion in 2007.

People can help the Salvation Army in another way by volunteering their time. Businesses, churches, schools, civic clubs and individuals are invited to sign up to ring a bell at one of the red kettle locations, no matter how much time is volunteered. Contact the Salvation Army at 983-2229 or visit the organization at 3145 25th St. in Port Arthur to sign up.

Secure donations can be made online at www.salvationarmytexas.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

email: bcrum@panews.com

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