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Western Pennsylvania Salvation Army drive misses mark by $270,000

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

The 2012 Salvation Army Christmas kettle campaign missed its goal by $270,000, and a shortage of volunteers was one likely culprit, officials said.

The campaign goal was set at $2,827,216, but achieved only $2,553,893, agency spokeswoman Ginny Knor said Thursday.

Twenty-four of Western Pennsylvania Salvation Army Division's 39 facilities reported shortages, Knor said.

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

The 2011 goal was $2,994,619 and raised $2,496,785.

This year, Greensburg raised $68,289, or 85 percent of its $80,000 target.

“We did pretty well,” said Capt. David Rhodes.

Funds stay in the community in which they are raised, agency officials said.

In Greensburg, facility programs include a free lunch that attracts 60 people three days a week, a food pantry and assistance with emergency needs, including rent and utility bills.

Rhodes said he may consider starting the campaign a little later this year, closer to Thanksgiving.

“We started the first week of November. People seem to ramp up their giving in the two to three weeks before Christmas,” he said.

Monessen raised $65,778, or 88 percent of its $75,000 goal.

A few communities exceeded their goals, Knor said.

Jeannette raised $64,484, or 115 percent of its $56,000 target; Latrobe raised $65,749, or 103 percent of its $64,000 goal.

The news in Fayette County was mixed, Knor said.

Because Scottdale and Connellsville are now combined, the goal for this year was to exceed 2011's total, $28,500.

The 2012 total was $21,276, or $7,223 short.

In Uniontown, the unit exceeded its target of $70,000, raising $75,350.

Allegheny County overall had the largest cumulative goal miss at nearly $150,000.

“I think the biggest challenge for everybody, especially in Allegheny County, is a lack of volunteers,” Knor said.

“People who are available tend to be the elderly. We don't want to put someone who is elderly out in 25-degree weather,” she said.

“People don't have spare change. People use debit cards. The government has talked about getting rid of pennies. We built our service on pennies. ... We are a cashless society,” Knor said.

The agency has launched additional campaigns in recent years, including the ongoing Wendy's Restaurant Junior Frosty key tag promotion and the online Pittsburgh versus Cleveland Kettle Challenge.

Monthly donors can donate online, saving postage costs, Knor said.

Campaign donations are still being accepted at www.salvationarmywpa.org.

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

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