Community

Donations to Salvation Army's red kettles down $50,000 in Linn County this year

Organization cites 'unprecedented need' in asking for help with Christmas campaign

A man places a donation into a red kettle in November 2013 as Salvation Army youth recreation coordinator Brad Weyer (le
A man places a donation into a red kettle in November 2013 as Salvation Army youth recreation coordinator Brad Weyer (left) and youth development coordinator Courtney Grau (right) ring bells outside Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids. This year’s Red Kettle Campaign is struggling to meet its fundraising targets, the Cedar Rapids Salvation Army said Wednesday. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Salvation Army is asking for help for its Christmas Red Kettle Campaign this year as it faces an “unprecedented need” for donations.

The annual campaign, now in its 130th year, is struggling to meet its fundraising targets, according to a Wednesday news release from the Cedar Rapids chapter.

With just over a week remaining in this year’s campaign, donations in Linn County are down over $50,000 compared to last year.

The campaign launched two months early this year, in mid-September, and has raised $507,000. However, the organization needs to raise an additional $210,000 to reach its $711,000 goal.

The organization is facing a “perfect storm” this year as it tries to deal with a “massive spike in demand for services coupled with damage to its own building from the derecho and a precipitous decline in donations,” the news release said.

“Although I’m concerned that donations are down, I remain hopeful we can still make our fundraising goal this year,” Corps Officer Capt. Shawn DeBaar said in the release. “Even as we face a tsunami of need, which we don’t anticipate diminishing for many, many months, I believe our community will rally around us again this year.”

Since March, the Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids has served thousands of meals, helped families keep their utilities on and prevented evictions through rental assistance, the news release noted.

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Additionally, around 3,800 people have been served through the organization’s collaboration with Toys for Tots, and the organization contributed over $200,000 in responding to the derecho.

Donations can be made through the Salvation Army website or at any red kettle around the county.

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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