After a lean holiday season that saw the Salvation Army of Kenosha County far behind its yearly fundraising goal, some post-season donations have nearly closed the gap.
In the weeks after the nonprofit organization ended the Red Kettle drive on Christmas Eve, several donors have played Santa and have given the Salvation Army some generous contributions. Over the past two weeks it has received many small donations, but the big surprise was when a couple sold stocks and donated the proceeds to the Salvation Army. The stock sale netted more than $13,000.
Salvation Army Capt. Marie Lewis said the contribution was a welcome surprise.
“Some people saw the article (about the shortfall) and wanted to make donations,” she said. “We did receive a number of smaller donations, but we also got some larger ones, too.”
The Salvation Army received certified checks, many with no donor name or return address on the envelope. Two checks received were for $5,000 and $2,000.
The mail-in donations, along with some from other sources, have brought it within about $15,000 of its goal of $130,000.
Kettle drive affected
The COVID-19 pandemic and an uptick in online shopping cut into the Red Kettle drive in 2020, leaving the Salvation Army $75,000 below its goal. Foot traffic near the kettles dwindled tremendously because many potential donors were stuck at home and ordering merchandise and holiday accessories online.
Additionally, many of the red kettles were unattended because the organization had trouble recruiting bell ringers due to COVID.
Lewis said having bell ringers at the kettles tends to boost donations. The Salvation Army had 18 locations in Kenosha County, but fewer than half had people ringing bells to attract attention.
Some organizations that traditionally provided volunteer bell ringers did not do so this holiday season. However, Lewis commended the local Rotary Club, the Boy Scouts and the Kiwanis Club for providing volunteers. It also had volunteers from two Festival Foods location and the Pleasant Prairie Fire Department.
Lewis also cited Uline and Snap-On for their support.
Money raised during the Red Kettle drive supports the Salvation Army’s Toy Shop, Food Pantry, Rent Assistance and Emergency Assistance programs.
The Salvation Army is still accepting contributions. They can be mailed to Salvation Army, 3116 75th St., Kenosha, WI 53142. Donations can also be made online at centralusa.salvationarmy.org/Kenosha or by texting 24365.