Dover Salvation Army Falls Way Short of 2014 Red Kettle Goal - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Salvation Army Falls Way Short of 2014 Red Kettle Goal

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Putting the "red" in the Red Kettle Campaign - the Salvation Army in Dover fell way short of its goal for the annual fundraiser.

The highly-recognizable red kettle campaign is the largest annual fundraiser for the Salvation Army.

The statewide arm of the organization reported to WBOC earlier this week donations were down across the region. The situation was no different in Dover.

Last year's total for the local corps was $95,000. This year's goal was $97,000. But all those bell rings did not turn into enough cha-ching. Bell ringers had only collected $56,000 through Tuesday.

Polytech High School seniors Hunter Gooder and Ryan Williamson were out with a kettle in Milford Wednesday. It was the last day of the 2014 campaign.

"We do it for the charity, mainly for the cause - to help people out during the winter time when things are rough," said Williamson.

"It's awesome," Gooder said. "You have a lot of cool conversations with people. They stop and talk or bring you hot chocolate.

The boys say they haven't noticed a decline in donations at their kettles.

"I understand that it could go down," Williamson said. "But I feel like it's been the same, and people have been donating at the same rate."

But they realize their experience is only a small part of a county-wide picture.

Dana Smith, with the Salvation Army, says this drop off is surprising. Donations had actually generally-speaking gone up since the start of the recession.

Bad weather on big donation days this year, like Christmas Eve Day, is one of the things Smith points to.

"I'm hoping that's what it is - it isn't like the start of a trend or something," she said. "The less money we have, the less people we can help. We're just going to have to figure out where we can make cuts, where can safe money, where we can squeeze things together. We always find a way to make things work. It's just more difficult."

Smith says she's unsure at this point exactly where the cuts may come from.

As he rings in an end to the red kettle season, Gooder remains positive despite the donation issues.

"It bothers me a little bit. But overall we're still helping people."

The Salvation Army in Salisbury covers Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset Counties. Its fundraising goal was $220,000. Leaders there say donations probably won't reach that number. But they are hoping to clear the $200,000 mark.

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