The Jacksonville Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign got an early jump on the holiday season.
The annual donation campaign started on Monday and is set to go through Christmas Eve.
Since the Salvation Army fell $77,000 short on its campaign goal, Captain Charles Pinkston pulled out the red kettles a week ahead of schedule.
“It just meant we had to tighten our straps as we went through the budget. We did end the year in a deficit budget, which isn’t a comfortable thing to do. We have to look at our goal this year and see what we can come up with and see what can be raised. If we don’t meet our goal this year then we will have to look at reducing or eliminating programs and staff.”
Pinkston says the drop in donations could be contributed to the increased use of credit and debit cards. To meet that need, the Salvation Army will offer a card swiping option at one of the seven Jacksonville kettle locations. Pinkston says the rest of the kettles will feature card swiping technology if this year is a success.
Pinkston has high hopes 2016 will be a bounce back year for the Red Kettle Campaign.
“Our overall goal is $200,000 and the kettle goal is $100,000. We are at seven locations: both doors at Wal-Mart, Midlands, ShopKo, County Market, J.C. Penney and the Walgreens on Main and Morton.”
The Salvation Army doesn’t receive federal or state funding.
Bell ringers can volunteer by contacting the Salvation Army at 245-7124.