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Salvation Army falls short on donations

Mary Pickels
| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 7:23 a.m.

With the holiday season over, the familiar red kettles and their bell ringers have been temporarily retired.

But the Western Pennsylvania Salvation Army is still accepting donations, due to a $270,000 shortfall in its 2012 Christmas fundraising campaign.

Spokeswoman Ginny Knor said 24 of the division's 39 facilities had a deficit this season.

The 2012 bar was set at $2,827,216 but only achieved a total of $2,553,893.

“Although we missed this year's goal, we did thankfully manage to do better than 2011,” Divisional Commander Major William H. Bode said.

The 2011 goal was $2,994,619 and raised $2,496,785. Within the 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division, $561,735 was donated at Wal-Mart stores and $381,815 at area Giant Eagle markets.

The news in Fayette County was mixed, Knor said.

Because Scottdale and Connellsville areas are now combined, the goal for this year was to exceed last year, Knor said.

In 2011, the combined amount raised was $28,500. This year, the total was $21,276, or $7,223 short, she said.

Mary McKnight, the area's new director, handled her first kettle campaign this year.

“Being that I just started in October, I feel like I got shot out of a cannon during the Christmas season,” she said.

“We did have a good amount of volunteers,” she added.

In Scottdale, Kailyn Robertucci and Maria Nascimben headed the campaign, while Beth Shreves oversaw Connellsville's efforts.

“I would always let people know we needed volunteers. But my kettle chair people did all the work,” McKnight said.

In Uniontown, the unit's goal was set at $70,000, but more than $75,350 was raised. “They surpassed their goal,” Knor said.

Last year Uniontown facility corps member David Bork dreamed up the idea of manning a 24-hour kettle stand.

Based at the Wal-Mart in South Union on Black Friday, Bork raised $1,300 by himself.

“He did it again this year,” said Lt. Shannon Jones, who has overseen the Uniontown center since November.

This time, she said, Bork raised $1,400.

Jones said she had fewer volunteers, dealt with some poor weather conditions and even a power outage one night that closed the Uniontown Mall, a busy kettle site.

“I credit it all to the generosity of the area and God,” she said.

The unit uses donations year-round for programs, including a free daily meal provided to approximately 100, a monthly food pantry distribution and help with residents' emergency rent and utility needs.

Kettle income is boosted by a few additional fundraisers including: Wendy's Restaurant Junior Frosty keytag promotion; KDKA Radio's Fred Honsberger Memorial Kettle; 3WS Radio's Annual Live Broadcast and Online Kettle; and the Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland Kettle Challenge, which is still accepting donations via

Salvation Army fundraising, including the Red Christmas Kettle Campaign, and delivery of service are segmented according to zip code. That means each facility in every community is independent of one another. Money raised within a neighborhood remains there to support families specifically in that area. Social support services are provided according to the resident's home address, minimizing duplication of service and stretching the donor dollar further.

“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,” Bode said.

Contributions can be made at Checks can be made to The Salvation Army with “Christmas Campaign” in the memo section and mailed to the facility of choice or directly to Western Pennsylvania Divisional Headquarters at P.O. Box 742, 700 North Bell Ave., Carnegie, Pa., 15106. Funds will be credited back to the local community of a donor's choice.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or

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