Red kettle campaign crucial to Salvation Army budget
JANESVILLE—Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
Maj. Bob Fay, co-commanding officer at the Janesville Salvation Army, hopes you are.
Monday was the soft launch of the charitable organization's annual red kettle campaign that officially kicks off Friday.
Bell ringing continues through the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
The goal is to raise $365,000, Fay said. That's $40,000 more than the 2012 goal of $325,000, which the charity surpassed by $20,000.
The 11 percent increase reflects a greater demand for services the Salvation Army has experienced this summer and so far this fall, he said.
“Demand for social services and programming has increased from 10 to 15 percent. If we continue to do that same amount in the future, we're not going to have the resources,” Fay said.
The goal is based on need, he said.
Having volunteer bell ringers stationed at the traditional red kettles between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 24 Janesville store locations typically means more donations. That's why volunteers are critical to the holiday campaign that makes up almost one-third of the Salvation Army's annual $1.5 million annual cash budget, Fay said.
The Salvation Army welcomes individuals, families, co-workers, Scouts, youth and service clubs, church and school groups to volunteer.
Money collected through the kettles last year helped meet social services, community center and transitional housing needs of thousands of local people, Fay said.
“We tracked unduplicated services last year that showed 18,000 different people received some sort of service from the Salvation Army. If you look at the population of north Rock County, that's probably one out of every five people over the course of the year who received a meal or some sort of program (help)," he said.
“The money we raise from the community funds all of the community-based outreach programs. So what's raised in Janesville is used in Janesville for direct services,” Fay said.
Programs include the noon weekday feeding program.
ANGEL TREE GOES UP SATURDAY
The Janesville Salvation Army Angel Tree can be found at center court of the Janesville Mall, 2500 Milton Ave., starting Saturday.
Janesville shoppers can help local children in need at Christmas by picking an Angel tag from the tree.
Each tag represents a child and includes age, gender and gift requests.
After buying for the child, shoppers return their new, unwrapped gifts to the Angel Tree receptacle. Volunteers will make sure children get gifts bought for them.
Gifts will be distributed to families from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, and from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 Pontiac Drive.
In addition to each child getting gifts and stocking stuffers, each family will receive food for a holiday meal, Fay said.