The Salvation Army's kettle campaign is a 100-year-old tradition, but you won't hear the bell ringing at a couple of big stores this year. One major retailer says not anymore, because the bell ringers are not in line with their no solicitation policy.
Target has banned the bells all over the country for the first time, which was bad news for the Salvation Army. The corporation says it has to ban the bells ringing in order to be fair to the growing number of nonprofit agencies wanting help.
"We were looking forward to working with Target this year," said Maj. Henry Hunter with the Savannah chapter. "Other locations, Target has been instrumental in raising money for the Salvation Army."
The Savannah chapter, which raised $109,000 last year, will never know the full effect of the retail giant with a new store just opening. But the Low Country chapter knows how Target hits the spot.
"It's always been one of the more profitable locations for us," said Capt. Hank Harwell.
Last year, the Salvation Army of the Low Country netted about $30,000, almost $7,000 came just from kettles outside Target.
"Right now, we are concentrating on looking at other locations that might help offset some of that loss we will incur for not having that location," Capt. Harwell said.
Both chapters say they aren't angry. "We support Target in their decisions respectfully," said Maj. Hunter. "Are we disappointed? Yes, but we respect them and want to be partners with them at a future date."
Here's something you may not realize. The bell ringers are paid, so in order to help offset costs, they are looking for volunteers. If you, your class, your church, your civic group is interested in ringing bells, you can call the Beaufort office at 843.524.3727, or 912.651.7420 in Savannah.