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GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. — In 2012, The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign raised $74,648.50 in Columbus/West Point, but this year donations are down by 16%.

Kettle gifts stay in the community where the money is donated and help provide meals and shelter for families in need, Christmas toys for thousands of children locally, and many other services throughout the year.

This year, because of a late Thanksgiving date, the kettle season is shorter by five vital days — which equates to potentially $ 10,000.00 less than in previous years — so donations coming in between now and the end of the year are critically important to The Salvation Army’s ability to meet needs here in The Golden Triangle.

Five fewer bell ringing days equates to about $20 million less in donations to The Salvation Army nationwide.

Additionally, below freezing temperatures and inclement weather are a risk to our bell ringers’ health and safety and put a damper on donations by passersby. During particularly unseasonable weather, The Salvation Army sometimes must opt not to put the kettles out, even though it means less donations during the critical “giving season.”

Several days of bad weather this year have already put The Salvation Army’s fundraising campaign even further behind.

“I am very concerned about the lost kettle days this year and how this will impact our ability to help those who are hurting. The red kettles are a symbol of giving and represent a tradition of caring that is passed down from generation to generation. We’re hoping that shoppers will remember their neighbors in need when they see a Salvation Army bell ringer in the community during the coming three weeks and be as generous as they can to help,” said Major Eric Roberts, head opf the Salvation Army in Columbus.

The Salvation Army is encouraging the public to donate generously to the Red Kettles found on street corners, in malls, and at local retailers — or online at www.salvationarmy.org in order to make up the shortfall. Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 8 Columbus, MS or called into 1 800 SAL ARMY. Gifts of stock are always welcome, too. Call Brent Murrell (251) 545-0447 for more information about how to donate appreciated stock.

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