Bells ring louder in 2013: Salvation Army shatters annual kettle drive goalPublished 8:40am Friday, January 3, 2014
The Salvation Army kettle drive may be complete, but the those little bells are still echoing.
That’s a welcome change, as last year the Austin Salvation Army fell short of its $60,000 kettle drive goal with $56,400. This year, that mark has been shattered, and the donations are still arriving in hefty sums. As of Thursday, Lt. David Amick said, the Austin station had received about $65,000. Furthermore, he anticipated another $2,700 from the Austin Masons, and a whopping $14,000 from an anonymous Twin Cities donor, which stepped forward and matched cities’ total donations in Minnesota and North Dakota during a two-day push several weeks ago. All calculated, Amick is confident the total will be at least $81,000 if the checks come in as he expects. That means more people in need will benefit from the local Salvation Army’s assistance programs, such as the food shelf, utilities assistance, prescription medication assistance, rides to the doctor and more.
“We’ll be able to increase our monthly programs,” Amick said. “Which will be good because that’s what we were just talking about today: ‘How are we going to make sure those who are in need get the help?’”
In mid-December, the local chapter’s kettle drive donations were lagging. According to Amick, that was similar across Minnesota and North Dakota.
“Across the board in this area we were down on our kettles,” Amick said. “Everyone was down. I was hearing it all over the place.”
Of course, the big-time, two-day match several weeks ago was the biggest boost many chapters received, which helped them reach or surpass their goals.
While volunteerism lagged at the beginning of this year’s drive, locals also stepped up to the plate in December. A new online registration program, Register to Ring, allowed potential bell ringers to easily see available times and locations. Amick said the program worked very well, and he hopes word will spread into the 2014 drive.
Amick also hopes more businesses will offer matching donations in this year’s drive, so he’s urging business owners to enter friendly competitions to foster the giving spirit.