Salvation Army short of kettle goal

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

The Alle-Kiski Valley's Salvation Army branches need a little extra love before Christmas.

The Valley's branches, like most of the charity's locations in Western Pennsylvania, are struggling to make the goal for their Christmas Red Kettle Campaign.

“We need folks to come out and support us if they can,” said Capt. Elvie Carter, who heads the New Kensington and Kiski Valley branches of the charity. “If they've given already, if they don't mind, maybe they could give just a little more.”

Carter said his branches are about $4,000 behind where they were at this time last year. The New Kensington location's goal this year is $66,000, while Kiski Valley's is $45,000.

The Allegheny Valley Salvation Army, based in Brackenridge, is about $30,000 off its goal of $153,000, according to Capt. Rickie Armour, the branch's commanding officer.

“We would love someone who could really dig deep at this point,” Armour said. “We really need this money to run our center throughout the year.”

The Salvation Army estimates the kettle drive raises almost half the annual budget for its local branches.

“It takes money to run the center,” Armour said. “I'm still very optimistic, I have a faith that the people in our community will help us reach this goal.

“They're always very good to us.”

Armour and Carter said they plan to extend the kettle campaign, which usually ends on Christmas, an extra week if they need to raise more money.

Regional struggles

The lack of money coming into the charity isn't just a Valley problem.

According to Ginny Knor, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Division, the region has met less than half of its $2.7 million goal.

Knor said 29 of the region's 39 centers are lagging behind on projections.

New Kensington's Carter said he believes a few factors have contributed to a low amount of donations this year.

“It's a number of things. Thanksgiving was later this year,” he said. “We've had several miserably cold days, especially (last) Saturday.

“For the most part, the weather has been cold and keeping people away.”

Armour and Carter said no matter where their fundraising ends up in relation to their goals, their mission will go on.

“We're in this together,” Carter said. “We will continue to help those in need, our doors are still open.

“We'll do the best we can because we're committed to the people.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.

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