Salvation Army Needs Up, Donations Down

You can hear the bells. The Salvation Army's out and about through the holidays with some 20,000 bell ringers alone. The money you drop in the kettle helps the poor, the homeless and others at Christmas and all year long. But they need more than ever.

Every year, more people are asking for help, and even though the Salvation Army's kettle campaign has just gotten underway, they're already significantly behind on donations.

Nick Ralston knows firsthand what the Salvation Army can do. Seven months ago, he turned his life around through the Salvation Army's alcohol rehabilitation program. "I've been sober for seven months," he said. "I'd do anything to help them because they put the Lord in my life and I know without Him and without them, I'd never be where I am today."

He is now working with the Salvation Army's kettle campaign. The money raised will be used to buy gifts for less fortunate children, the elderly and those in prison, as well as providing a holiday dinner. Any money left over goes into the Salvation Army's general fund to help people year round.

In recent years, more people are coming to rely on the Salvation Army for help, but unfortunately, as the need increases, donations have decreased. They're down about $5,200 from last year at this time, and more than $16,000 from the year before.

"We would have enough probably to get us through Christmas," said Maj. Henry Hunter. "After Christmas, we would have to reevaluate what we can provide the community."

That could mean cutting important services that could be kept with just a little help. "Whether you put in a dime or a dollar or a quarter, all of it helps," said bell ringer Nick Ralston. "None is too small."

You can drop off your donations with any one of the bell ringers in your community. You can also donate online.

Reported by: Liz Flynn,