Salvation Army Falling Behind in Holiday Donations This Year

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

With just six days until Christmas, the Salvation Army in Mid-Michigan says they are hundreds of thousands of dollars behind in Christmas Campaign donations.

Last month, we told you how the Salvation Army was worried the calendar would affect donations this year, because most bell ringers couldn't set up until the day after Thanksgiving, which meant six fewer days of giving.

That fear is now becoming a reality as the Salvation Army in Mid-Michigan faces a 30 percent shortfall in donations.

This year's goal was $975,000 for Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties, but right now they have collected just more than $550,000, according to Stan Spyker, business manager for the Salvation Army Capital Area.

"The organization has a roughly $2 million budget annually in Mid-Michigan," Spyker said. "We rely on donations during the holidays for about half of that."

Nationwide, the Salvation Army is looking at a potential shortfall of $20 million.

For Lansing resident Alex Fredenburg, the help he's received from the Salvation Army in recent years is what has made celebrating Christmas with his family possible.

"Whatever they can do to help, they do it," he said. "It means a lot, as an uncle and as a parent myself, that when they're there to help you out when you don't having nothing, it means a lot for your kids."

Fredenburg said in the past the organization has donated present for the kids, along with food, and even the family's Christmas tree this year.

"It makes the kids' day," he said. "Growing up being poor, you don't have much, but Salvation Army has always been there."

But this year's shortfall could mean cuts down the road, and could potentially mean less help for families in Mid-Michigan like the Fredenburgs.

Pastor Thomas Lee, with the Salvation Army's South Corps said it doesn't just affect help during the holiday's, but aid year-round to area families.

"Maybe we can't help as many people with utilities, maybe we can't do the food pantry with as many clients, or a community meal with as many clients," he said.

Lee said it's too early to say what would would have to be cut or by how much, and he isn't just blaming the calendar for the shortfall either.

"The snow has played a role, when it snows more or it's colder people don't go out and shop as much," he said.

Less foot traffic at stores means kettle donations this year are down nearly $30,000 in Mid-Michigan.

But Lee said he's still hopeful they'll be able to make their goal and he's pleading with the community to donate anything extra to help those most in need.

Donations collected during Christmas go toward giving food, toys and winter clothes to families. Funds are also used throughout the year to provide various services.

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