As of Friday, the Brainerd Corps of the Salvation Army is experiencing an $18,000 shortfall in its donations collected at the organization's familiar red kettles throughout Crow Wing County.
The decrease in donations received this Christmas season could mean a tough year for The Salvation Army. Their goal was to raise $65,000 during its red kettle campaign, which is 20-30 percent of the local corps annual budget.
"We're concerned, I will admit," said Capt. Paul Ferguson. "It's something that will make us tighten our belts a little bit. We don't have much time left. Today and four hours tomorrow (to raise funds). I think the majority of it is the economy. It's tighter everywhere. We've been hard hit here, too. People are really worried about what's going to happen with the economy."
Ferguson said the donations collected on Saturday haven't been totaled yet as of Monday morning.
The Salvation Army has nine large kettles manned by volunteers at various locations and 25 counter kettles at businesses throughout Crow Wing County.
Ferguson said that while donations are down, the need for their services have increased. Last year The Salvation Army delivered 500 Christmas food baskets to area families in need, in addition to helping supply toys for the Toys for Kids program. This year The Salvation Army gave Christmas baskets to more than 600 Brainerd lakes area families. More than 1,500 families were helped with the Angel tree gift program.
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