Volunteers for Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign were harder to come by in '21

·2 min read

FREEPORT — The local Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign, which ran from November of last year through Christmas Eve, fell short of its fundraising goal this past holiday season.

Every year, volunteer bell ringers work red donation kettles at area shopping centers during the rush of the holiday shopping season.

The ringing of bells to solicit donations is typically a vibrant and joyful part of the holiday shopping experience.

In 2021, they were fewer volunteers to work the kettles.

Freeport Salvation Army Capt. Tim Thorson said he believed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may have made some people nervous about volunteering.

“We had the challenge finding people who were willing to put themselves out there during COVID,” Freeport Captain Tim Thorson said.

A sign seeking Salvation Army volunteers, seen Jan. 14, 2022, sits at the corner of West Exchange Street and North Van Buren Avenue, downtown Freeport.
A sign seeking Salvation Army volunteers, seen Jan. 14, 2022, sits at the corner of West Exchange Street and North Van Buren Avenue, downtown Freeport.

As a result, the Freeport Salvation Army raised less money than it had hoped and planned for this year from the kettle campaign.

It had a goal of raising $85,000 from the kettles. Thorson said the organization raised a little more than 64% of that goal. Final numbers are expected later this month.

The Salvation Army uses the money raised each year from bell ringing to fund programs like rental assistance, food drives and Christmas gifts for area children.

Local assis: Freeport area to receive more than $69K for food, shelter services

Thorson said the shortfall should not affect programs this year because the organization is able to rely on a pool of regular, committed donors.

“The Freeport area that we service is very giving,” he said. “The people care and make sure other people are getting what they need whether it’s clothing or food.”

In light of this year's outcomes, Thorson said 2022’s Red Kettle goal may be adjusted to so it’s more attainable.

“I hope we can be through this COVID so that more people can be relaxed about being in public again,” he said.

Jim Hagerty: jhagerty@rrstar.com; @jimhagerty

This article originally appeared on Journal Standard: Volunteers for Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign hard to find in '21

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