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Red Kettle donations $40,000 below goal in Greensburg

Jacob Tierney
| Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, 11:54 a.m.
A dollar is added to the Red Kettle at Walmart in Cranberry Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
A dollar is added to the Red Kettle at Walmart in Cranberry Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014.

With less than a week until Christmas, Greensburg's Salvation Army's Red Kettle fundraising campaign remains about $40,000 short of its goal.

The campaign ends Saturday, Maj. Vanessa Fullwood said.

“Usually Christmas Eve is a big day for us, but because Christmas Eve is on Sunday this year we won't be ringing that day at all,” she said.

Sunday is a day of rest and worship, so bell ringers won't be out collecting donations, she said.

The organization has raised about $60,000. Its target is $101,000.

Fundraising was going strong until temperatures dropped and snow started falling, said Earnest Fullwood, Vanessa's husband and co-leader of the Greensburg Salvation Army.

“The bad weather has taken its toll on us,” he said.

The weather makes it harder to recruit volunteer bell ringers to stand outside and collect donations. A lack of volunteers has hurt fundraising efforts, Vanessa Fullwood said.

Red Kettle donations have been sluggish across the region, Salvation Army spokeswoman Donna Fencik said. The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania division, which includes Greensburg, is about $1.5 million short of its $2.73 million goal as of the organization's last financial report.

Salvation Army officials have wondered whether people who would have contributed may be tapped out after donating to the relief efforts for this year's many disasters, which included several devastating hurricanes and the recent widespread wildfires in California.

Greensburg's kettle campaign faced a similar shortfall last year but made up the difference with a last-minute surge in donations, including a $10,000 check dropped in a kettle at Westmoreland Mall by an anonymous donor.

Earnest Fullwood has been in the Salvation Army more than 20 years, but he said he's never seen anything like last year's show of support in Greensburg's campaign.

He's hoping donors do something similar this year, but he thinks it might be a long shot.

“Lightning can never strike twice in the same place most of the time,” he said.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, or via Twitter @Soolseem.

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