Local Red Kettle Campaign Less Than 50K Short of Budget Goal Ahead of Jan 31 Deadline

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 4, 2024 at 11:27am

The Jacksonville Salvation Army closed the gap in the Red Kettle Campaign shortfall heading into the start of the year, and with less than a month to go, officials are urging the public to help get them over the top.

Major Chris Clarke with the Jacksonville Salvation Army says there is still time to get donations in for the campaign even though the kettles are put away for the holiday season.

He says a big push in the back half of December helped, but there is still a pretty big need for help. “Well, we’ve had a lot of donations come in the mail. People donate at the end of the year and we’re so thankful for that. But the campaign actually still goes through January 31st and we still need to raise about forty-six thousand dollars, or about a quarter of our overall goal.

We put a plea out there, in fact, we sent out some letters urging our donors that if they haven’t given already and if they are able to give again we would certainly appreciate it.

Because we call it a goal but actually, that line item comes right from our budget. So if we can’t make that it is really going to hurt our ability to help as many people as we’d like to and right now we’re helping more people and seeing more people in need than ever.”

Clarke says reaching the budget goal is critically important to making sure they can offer continued service programs in the new year. He says the need for more donations coupled with increasing need in the community poses a two-fold effect.

Because we’re hearing that some people are not able to give as much because the cost of everything has pretty much gone up so it’s hurting everyone’s pocketbooks in some ways. But it is also bringing more people in for things like food and help with utilities and things like that.

Our goal of one hundred and eighty-five thousand dollars, that makes up nearly half of our yearly budget, and we’re still like I said about twenty-five percent short. So that’s a big portion of our yearly budget and that is more than a month’s worth of services. So we don’t want to, but we’d have to revise our budget and look at ways to cut back.

It’s certainly something we don’t want to do but again, we are serving more people than ever and the need is greater than ever and we want to continue to help all those people we can, but if we don’t make our goal, we may have to make some tough decisions.”

Clarke says they are thankful to everyone who donated and volunteered for this year’s campaign, as well as for those who donated directly to help families in need during the holiday season.

We are certainly thankful to the many people who helped with the Angel Tree campaign and adopting entire families for the holidays. We were able to help nearly five hundred children with toys, and people are so generous they gave so many good gifts to each child as well as helping people with food.

We were able to help a lot of people with food for the holidays as well. So we thank the community for that because, without the community’s help, we wouldn’t have been able to do that.”

In 2023 the Jacksonville Salvation Army provided more than 16,000 hot meals and over 800,000 pounds of food for those in need. More than 16,000 personal care items, 1,200 nights of shelter, clothing for 510 people, and housing stability for 114 families were provided via funds raised during the 2022 campaign.

For more information on the services provided by the Jacksonville Salvation Army, or to donate to the 2023 Red Kettle Campaign, go to centralusa.salvationarmy.org and search Jacksonville.

You can also drop off or mail donations to the Jacksonville Salvation Army at 331 West Douglas Avenue in Jacksonville.