Last year, D.C.-area Salvation Army bell ringers collected donations for ten hours per day, every day from mid-November to Christmas Eve, in front of Giant Food supermarkets. Giant shoppers were responsible for roughly half, $667,000 of the $1.35 million, generated in the Washington, D.C. area last year by the charity’s signature Red Kettle Campaign.
That was before Giant announced a new policy in October, limiting most charities to two days per month and four hours per day, with only one charity per store in any given day.
“We were given special permission to ring six days in November, and six in December, for which we are grateful,” said Salvation Army communications manager Ken Forsythe.
Red Kettle revenues are “slightly down” so far this year, Forsythe told WND.
“We are optimistic we are going to make it to our goal this year with a lot of prayer and a good deal of hope that the Washington area community will respond and help people truly in the most need this time of year.”
The charity hopes to raise $1.6 million by Christmas with this year’s Red Kettle Campaign.
“We found out about the new policy just three weeks before kettle season, Forsythe told WND. “We used to have 102 kettles every day at Giant locations for the last 10 or 15 years. Now it varies, as different areas work out schedules with Giant managers.”
In a statement to local media, Giant said the chain wanted to give fundraising opportunities to “as many community groups as possible.”
The four-hour limit “preserves their customers’ shopping experience,” Giant spokesman Jamie Miller reportedly told Newsplex. http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Giant_Food_Limiting_Time_for_Salvation_Army_Bell_Ringers_108749624.html
“Our paramount concern right now is to make sure we will raise enough to care for the thousands of clients who come to our doors every year,” said Forsythe.
Forsythe quickly listed numerous ways the Salvation Army reaches out to the Washington, D.C. community.
“Many more people are coming for first time this year. At Thanksgiving we helped 8,000 people with Thanksgiving dinners. We gave gift baskets with turkey and fixings to military families. Through the year we help women in need, women with children. We offer housing programs to help with joblessness and homelessness, including a transitional program that run several months for families in need. We help parents with drug addiction prevention. Then we have our utility assistance program. We helped at least 83,000 persons last year with basic social services like utilities, rent, clothing and food. Our Angel Tree program will help 13,500 children have a merry Christmas, and we’ll help 29,000 people through the Christmas season with gift cards and other direct assistance.”
The Salvation Army hopes to make up for lost time in front of Giant stores with a variety of additional fundraising methods.
“We are still able to ring steadily at Walmart stores, Starbucks, Big Lot, Safeway, Macy’s and a number of other retailers and locations,” said Forsythe.
“Also, we are providing alternate ways for people to give in case they are not close to a kettle. People can go online to www.salarmydc.org, and click on the red kettle.”
“People can create their own online red kettle, and ask their friends and neighbors to help,” Forsythe added.