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Red Kettle campaign falls short of fundraising goal

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

Despite collecting more money in its annual Red Kettle campaign than in the previous year, the Salvation Army fell short of its 2012 goal by more than $270,000, charity officials said Wednesday.

“The Salvation Army is grateful for every gift, no matter the size, and we are truly humbled and appreciative of the generosity. But we would still warmly welcome any additional support,” said Maj. William H. Bode, divisional commander of the Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania chapter.

The charity's 2012 goal was a little less than $2.83 million; it raised about $2.55 million.

The Salvation Army took in nearly $2.5 million in 2011, shy of the nearly $3 million goal.

Virginia Knor, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, said the charity's local fundraising leading up to Christmas may have been affected by Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of the East Coast.

“People sometimes experience donation fatigue,” Knor said.

Donations also may be affected by the move toward a cashless society, she said.

“More and more people go out shopping with little or no cash in their pockets and purses,” Knor said.

The largest amount of money collected last year — $561,735 — came from red kettles posted outside Walmart stores, followed by $381,815 in donations from kettles at Giant Eagle supermarkets.

The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania chapter covers 28 counties. It fell short of its overall goal mostly in Allegheny County, by $150,000, Knor said.

Knor said 24 of the chapter's 39 worship and service centers are experiencing a deficit, with the largest — $60,609 — affecting the facility on the North Side, followed by a $46,204 deficit at the Mt. Lebanon Pittsburgh Temple Corps.

Tony LaRussa is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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