Calendar, cold leave Salvation Army kettles emptier than usual

By Tom Roeder Updated: December 13, 2013 at 5:59 am • Published: December 12, 2013 | 6:50 pm 0
photo - Salvation Army bell ringers have brought in far less that was expected.    KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE
Salvation Army bell ringers have brought in far less that was expected. KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE

Cold weather in the Pikes Peak region and a late Thanksgiving have put a dent in Salvation Army kettle collections, with bell-ringers bringing in $50,000 less than expectations.

The charity hopes to raise $600,000 this year through its 55 donation kettles. But cold weather that rolled in last week and stuck around made shoppers stay home, which drove down donations.

"People just don't like to shop when its 7 degrees outside," said Maj. Richard Larson, the El Paso County coordinator for The Salvation Army.

Also, Thanksgiving 2013 came nearly a week later than usual, and lost days mean lost dollars for the charity, Larson said.

The donors who braved the cold have been generous, Larson said.

"I think the largest check in a kettle was $300," he said, "We've had a few people dropping in $100s and $50s, but its most $1s, $5s and $20s."

The money pays for a variety of community projects including providing food and shelter to the needy and disaster relief in the wake of June's Black Forest fire.

Salvation Army volunteers also fed hundreds of area residents a Thanksgiving holiday meal and will do it again at Christmas.

Larson said when kettles come up short, the charity must re-evaluate the services it provides.

But Larson thinks Mother Nature may give bell-ringers a boost in the coming days.

Temperatures are expected to hang in the sunny 40s for the Pikes Peak region through Wednesday.

"I think the warm days when people are out shopping will help," Larson said.

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