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Empty kettles: Salvation Army misses goal locally

| Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 10:49 a.m.

The Salvation Army's Red Christmas Kettle Campaign fell about 12 percent short of its goal in the region this past holiday season.

Ginny Knor, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Division, reported the fundraising campaign missed its $2.7 million goal by about $320,000.

The Kiski Valley and New Kensington facilities were among the 28 out of 39 in the division that will begin the new year with a deficit, Knor said.

However, the Alle-Kiski Valley's branches are not among those staring down the largest deficits of more than $30,000 each.

Capt. Elvie Carter, the commanding officer for both the Kiski Valley and New Kensington branches, said his locations each fell about 5 percent short of their goals.

The New Kensington branch missed its $66,000 goal by about $3,000; Kiski Valley was about $2,400 from its $45,000 goal.

“It was just a rough year,” Carter said.

Thanksgiving falling late in the month of November resulted in bell ringers not being able to start the campaign as early as they have in previous years, Carter said.

Additionally, he thinks several bouts of cold weather reduced the number of volunteers and potential donors.

Carter said the Alle-Kiski Valley always is generous and he's hopeful donations will continue.

“The need is so great that we can't afford not to do something,” said Carter. “We'll continue to raise money. The people in the Valley are very giving people.”

Capt. Rickie Armour, who commands the Brackenridge-based Allegheny Valley Salvation Army branch, said his branch met and slightly exceeded its $150,000 goal. That's despite a $30,000, or 20 percent, deficit just a few days before Christmas.

All of the Allegheny County branches combined missed the goal by a total of about $116,000, Knor said.

“Although we missed our goal, things could have been far worse,” said Maj. William H. Bode, the divisional commander. “During the final week of our Red Christmas Kettle Campaign, the public generously rallied to our appeals for help.”

The Salvation Army provides an array of services, such as disaster aid; help with housing, clothing, medical needs, utilities and other basic necessities to the poor or homeless; youth and senior citizen programs; and adult drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

“The Salvation Army is grateful for every gift, no matter the size, and we are truly humbled and appreciative of the generosity,” Bode said.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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