Salvation Army struggling with Red Kettle Drive

Published 9:39 am Friday, December 18, 2020

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive is falling behind on Red Kettle Drive donations this year, raising $45,862.59 to date as of Dec. 16 with the kettles. By about this time last year, they had raised $79,971.13 with the kettles. The total kettle goal for 2020 is $100,000, and there’s less than a week left to make up the deficit.

This is according to Lt. Lindsey Galabeas, who is core officer of the Salvation Army in Danville, which serves Boyle, Casey, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties. She said one of the reasons the drive is falling behind is because a lot of the volunteers are older people, many of whom are retired and have time to volunteer, and since older people are the most heavily affected by COVID-19, they’re doing their best to stay safe.

“And we totally support them in this, but it does mean there are less people manning kettles this year than have been in past, and less people manning, of course, less opportunity for people to give,” Galabeas said.

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The issue the drop in donations presents is the Red Kettle Drive is the only large public fundraiser the Salvation Army does, so the shortage in donations might affect programs, Galabeas said. She said the organization is considering having an additional fundraiser on top of the Red Kettle Drive.

“But obviously the Salvation Army is really known at Christmastime with the bells out there — it’s really known for the kettle season during this time, so it’s really our best chance to get these funds,” she said.

The money from the Red Kettle Drive also makes up 15 to 20% of the organization’s budget. So when they can’t get what they need from the drive, Galabeas said the organization has to make cuts, which she said will potentially need to be done if an additional fundraiser doesn’t go well.

And the Salvation Army has valuable programs that could potentially face cuts or simply not happen, she said, like the organization’s summer day camp and the after-school program, which didn’t happen this year because of COVID-19 but are hoped to be resumed.

Or, she said, rent and utility assistance to people in need could face cuts. This year she said the Salvation Army received COVID-19 relief funds, but they ran out in September. And though the organization saw less demand when people were receiving their individual COVID-19 relief money, also known as “stimulus” money, and when evictions and utility cutoffs were paused, the organization saw a spike in demand when those penalties were back in place.

Galabeas said the Salvation Army also offers several other services like a food pantry for the five counties served in the area, vouchers on clothes and furniture, and church groups. She said the community has done an excellent job supporting the Salvation Army and encourages people to continue to donate.

“This community is so supportive of the Salvation Army and has been for decades,” she said. “They go above and beyond to ring the bell. They go above and beyond to get items to us for our Angel Tree, which is our Christmas assistance program. They go above and beyond to donate during this time of year, and we so appreciate their efforts. We know that the economy at this point has hit all of us pretty hard, and some people may have less to donate this year than normal, so we just do want to let people know how thankful we are for their efforts already and just hope to see that we reach our goal, even in the midst of this crazy year.”