LINCOLN, Neb. -- The cold weather is resulting in many Salvation Army red kettles going unstaffed. As a result The Salvation Army red kettles are substantially behind last year's totals.
The goal for the organization for funds collected in the red kettles and in the mail is $568,500. The organization's bell ringing schedules also coincide with the placement of Thanksgiving.
Thus the organization also has five fewer bell ringing days this year compared to last year.
The fewer bell ringing days coupled with the arctic blast have resulted in fewer bell ringers. Major Jamie Pennington of The Salvation Army noted that many bell ringers who have previously signed up to ring bells as a result of the cold weather have canceled their shifts or simply not shown up at all to volunteer.
Major Pennington noted that at this time last year the organization had raised a total of $266,759 or about 50 percent of their goal. This year the organization has to date raised $225,126 or 39 percent of its goal.
Major also reported that the organization saw a record number of families this year seeking Thanksgiving baskets and a record number of families who have already signed up for Christmas Assistance.
"With the need greater than ever the arctic blast coupled with the fewer bell ringing days have left us deeply concerned as to how we can meet the demands of the community this holiday season and throughout the year." Noted Major Pennington. "We need many good kind souls who are willing to brave the cold weather to staff the bells for us and even more kind souls willing to stop and contribute when they see a bell ringer."
To register to ring the bells go to ringbells.org and click on Lincoln or call the organization at 402-474-6263.
The organization will also officially light a Tree of Lights this year that will be placed in the RailYard next to the ice rink. This will be lit by Will Scott of WRK Real Estate. The public is invited. Major Pennington noted that he hopes the public will be reminded that "Need knows no season." As they skate in the new rink and enjoy the various venues in the West Haymarket area.
The familiar red kettles will remain out at 37 Lincoln locations Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Christmas Eve.
Funds raised in the annual campaign are used to assist those in need of Christmas toys and food as well as making up 50 percent of the agencies annual budget for the entire year.
Interested donors may also call 1-800-SAL-ARMY to donate via Credit/Debit cards. All funds donated in Lincoln stay in Lincoln.
The Salvation Army is a United Way agency.