Despite just about every setback possible, the Brainerd Salvation Army surpassed its Red Kettle Campaign goal.
The effort pulled in $121,000, which is $1,000 more than the 2013 goal.
“I’m blown away,” said Salvation Army Capt. Scott Strissel. “We were worried we weren’t going to make it.”
Strissel became really concerned during the last week of the campaign — the organization was down $40,000 from its goal.
“It was so disheartening,” Strissel said.
He attributes the initial shortfall to the unusually bitter cold weather, which in turn prevented a lot of volunteers from ringing the bell.
Compared to past years, 2013 was probably the toughest.
“I can’t think of another effort that was this cold and that had so many factors to overcome,” Strissel said.
But the Brainerd lakes area community pulled through.
The Mills family and Fleet Farm’s match day “Day of Caring” brought in more than $25,000.
Anonymous donors statewide matched funds for two days, which accounted for another $20,000.
There is still some change that needs to be counted and added into this year’s total. That could bring in another couple of thousand dollars, Strissel said.
For this year’s campaign, local Salvation Army officials were asking for an extra $3,000 over last year’s goal. It’s the minimum the organization needs to get through the next year.
The money helps the organization operate the food shelf, provide utility assistance and emergency housing to residents of the Brainerd lakes area.
Strissel says there was a lot of prayer and community support that made the campaign possible.
“The community pulled through,” he said. “They really rallied behind us.”