MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Some Salvation Army locations in Alabama are seeing significant drops in donations for their Red Kettle campaign this year, while others are bucking the trend.
Many locations are choosing not to have bellringers out these final two days of the drive because of the cold.
“I cannot put bellringers out. It’s just too much to ask people to stand out all day,” Huntsville Salvation Army Major Mark Smith said.
Major Smith says these final two days are typically their biggest for fundraising. Even without volunteers outside though, he says this season actually saw an increase in donations.
“We have not experienced a decline. This year, the people of Madison County have been very generous,” Smith said.
It’s a different story for other locations in the state.
“It’s sad to say, it’s been very slow this year,” Montgomery Major Harvey Johnson said.
Johnson says they’ve seen a roughly 20% decline in donations compared to last year.
“We haven’t had as many volunteer groups. We also hired some people to help us and that market, as everyone knows, trying to hire folks is difficult,” Johnson said.
But it’s not just a lack of staff or volunteers.
“Inflation has a whole lot to do with it,” Birmingham Major Robert Lyle said.
Lyle says economic concerns have also likely contributed to the decline.
“The Greater Birmingham Area is down probably close to 20, 22%,” Lyle said.
If you won’t be venturing into the cold, you can donate to the virtual red kettle on the Salvation Army’s website.
All three locations emphasize that while the Salvation Army might be most visible during Christmastime, those funds help serve communities year-round– through shelters, utility and rent help, meals and more.