Local

Salvation Army facing shortfall in red kettle campaign

Jenna Kaczor, 7, of Sycamore rings a bell for The Salvation Army red kettle campaign Thursday at the Walgreens in Sycamore.
Jenna Kaczor, 7, of Sycamore rings a bell for The Salvation Army red kettle campaign Thursday at the Walgreens in Sycamore.

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Salvation Army is hoping for a late-season surge in donations from generous shoppers to meet its local fundraising goals.

Because of a shorter bell-ringing season, The Salvation Army corps are facing a shortfall, with only 60 percent of their red kettle campaign goals completed.

Monday kicked off the final week of the campaign for organization and its four corps serving the Fox Valley area of McHenry, Kane and Kendall counties.

“When you think about it, 40 percent of their goals need to be raised in six days – that means $80,000 to $100,000, depending on their red kettle campaign goal,” Fox Valley regional development director Beverly Peterson said.

The Crystal Lake corps has a fundraising goal of $200,000 and has reached 60 percent of its goal, Peterson said.

The bells will ring for the last time this year on Saturday, one day short of the typical season because of a national policy of no bell ringing on Sundays. The policy has been in place since bell ringing’s inception in 1891, when the first campaign began in San Francisco.

Peterson said that Black Friday and Christmas Eve typically are the two biggest days for fundraising.

The Salvation Army of Fox Valley is asking people to consider ringing a bell at one of its various locations, and to give generously to the red kettles.

Throughout the week, the Crystal Lake corps will deliver toys and food to 400 families, which includes 1,200 children, Peterson said. Donations from the red kettles help support the food and toy distribution.

The money raised also supports from 50 percent to 60 percent of the corps’ yearly budgets to provide emergency assistance, after-school programs, music lessons, disaster services and other social and youth programs.

“If we don’t hit our goal, it would impact the services we can directly provide to individuals, from our food pantries, emergency assistance, what kind of programming we can do and how many days we are open,” Peterson said. “After the Christmas season, we look at our budget and see if we need to make any revisions.”

For example, Peterson said the Crystal Lake corps was very involved in assisting after the Marengo explosion and flooding over the summer.

There are 52 locations in the area with bell ringers, including spots in Algonquin, Harvard, Huntley, Island Lake, Johnsburg, Marengo, McHenry and Woodstock. To find one, individuals can search locations online at www.registertoring.com.

Volunteer bell ringers are needed through Saturday. Sign up online at www.registertoring.com or by calling 815-455-2769.

“We have seen some amazing generosity over the last couple of years,” Peterson said. “We have great community partners that have given so generously to help us with toys and the services we provide.”

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