Salvation Army’s Christmas campaign goal not met

Published 11:15 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

The Salvation Army’s Christmas campaign left the organization planning for a year while close to $47,000 short after the campaign turned up fewer funds than needed based on the preliminary budget for this year.

Salvation Army Maj. Sandy Hunt said the shortage is not a product of a community that is not generous.

“We feel this community is really very generous,” Hunt said. “People are really, really generous, but our community is small and we didn’t make our Christmas goal this year.”

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Lt. Gloria Pelayo said the giving picked up toward the end of the campaign as people became concerned about the Salvation Army meeting its goal.

Although the Salvation Army has not finalized its numbers related to the Christmas campaign’s income through giving, Hunt said the overall income was approximately $154,800. The budget was for $201,500, and now it will be revised.

“We’ve tightened our belts tighter,” Hunt said.

What that means for the Salvation Army in Albert Lea is leaving some open positions unfilled. Pelayo said they may also need to set limits for some expenses they can help others pay.

Hunt attributes some of the shortage to fewer matching funds than in previous years, but said the Salvation Army still would have been a little short even if in-kind donations were level with the past.

Hunt also said some of the drop may be reflective of a year in which people were already giving before the Christmas season. This includes the three major disasters the Salvation Army collected relief funds for: the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Although Hunt said income from Christmas has been going down every year, through its Christmas season, the Salvation Army saw individuals donate over 2,000 toys divied up between 796 children as well as given to hospital and foster services. Food donations also helped stock enough food baskets for 1,130 people — approximately 345 families.

“At Christmastime, the needs of people are in the forefront of people’s minds, but the needs are there all year long,” Hunt said.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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