Red Kettle Donations Lagging Behind in Des Moines Area


CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 21: Shoppers walk past a Salvation Army kettle on December 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. As the season winds down donations to Chicago area kettles have been over 10 percent shy of those received last year. Nearly 70 percent of the Salvation Army’s funding comes from donations dropped into the red […]

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MITCHELLVILLE, Iowa -- One of the most famous fundraisers in America is having a slow holiday season.

The Salvation Army in the Des Moines area has less than two weeks to make up over $200,000 needed to hit its Red Kettle Campaign fundraising goal of $400,000.

With Thanksgiving later than normal this year, the amount of days leading up to Christmas has been cut short and so have donations and volunteers for the campaign.  There are 71 red kettle locations in Polk County this holiday season and volunteer hours for bell ringers are already down 1,000 hours.

"These donations help us with our annual budget. It’s a big portion of it and just over a third of our budget annually.  That money is what helps us to operate and to be able to do the programs we do all year," said Tamyra Harrison, who serves as the Salvation Army's special events coordinator.

Despite the slow start to the giving season, Harrison believes Iowans are beginning to get back into the spirit. A $5,000 check showed up in a metro-area kettle this weekend.  She says donating your time or money to the Salvation Army impacts so much more than just a family’s Christmas, but it can’t happen without a friendly smile.

"Having that smiling face saying Merry Christmas and greeting people at the kettle is the difference between not having someone and getting $15 and having them there and it being a $250 kettle.  You get to be a part of something. People like seeing the bell ringers," said Harrison.

Numbers are also down nationally.  You can sign up to be a bell ringer by going online to


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