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Posted on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9 a.m.

With donations down 10%, Salvation Army asks donors to pitch in for Red Kettle campaign

By Julie Baker

Giving to The Salvation Army of Washtenaw County's Red Kettle campaign is down 10 percent from this time last year, and Maj. John Williams says he's hoping donors will be extra generous in the coming weeks.

The organization's mail appeal program and kettle donations are both down, Williams said.


Maj. John Williams

Courtesy photo

Williams said he's not entirely sure why giving is down this year, but the economy and recent rainy days aren't helping.

"Maybe when people are out shopping and spending they're forgetting about giving," he said. "We kind of felt like Washtenaw County was doing better. We're getting a lot of $1 donations, instead of $5, $10, $20."

The Salvation Army's $300,000 Red Kettle Campaign kicked off in Washtenaw County Nov. 11 and is scheduled to run through Dec. 24, although Williams said that could extend a few days if donations are still down.

The campaign typically sees a few high points — the days following Thanksgiving and those leading up to Christmas are good for donations, as are particularly snowy ones.

More than 50 bellringers are stationed at locations throughout the county, and prospective volunteers can even sign up to ring online. Williams said that some of the smaller areas typically draw in big donations — Manchester, Milan and Chelsea all do really well. Briarwood Mall, an area of focus for the campaign, also does well.

The donations are down at a time when the local organization is seeing increased demand for services because of recent welfare cuts and reductions to utility assistance, Williams said. Food pantry demand is up about 80 percent this year, with other services up 50 percent.

The Salvation of Washtenaw County uses an average of $.82 of every dollar donated to provide a food pantry, soup kitchen, clothing, a family shelter, transitional housing and counseling for veterans, character building for youth, camp programs, emergency and disaster relief, utility assistance and eviction prevention.


Pixie Belle

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

May I suggest the Wastenaw Shelter association as a great alternative place to put your money this holiday season. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Or Food Gatherers <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Or that you volunteer somewhere that is doing good.

Red Floyd

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

I was unaware of their stance toward the LGBT until now, however, I find the actual bell ringing so annoying and irritating, THAT alone makes me hurry past them and into the stores! Horribly annoying sounds make me unhappy.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

There are so many reasons not to donate to this organization. Their discrimination practices are first and foremost. The other that is totally annoying is having people ring bells continuously when I want to go shopping at Kroger, or Meijer or any other place. I think i will go stand on the sidewalk in front of the Salvation Army and start blaring a bull horn to annoy them

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

The Meijer near me doesn't allow them. Which is why I switched from Kroger's a couple of holiday seasons ago, and haven't been back.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

I haven't changed how much I donate to The Salvation Army. In fact, I won't patronize any business that allows the bell-ringers. There are more efficient ways to donate money to charity.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

Ah yes.....hating on the Salvation Army........ very fashionable in A2.I'm heading out right now to donate


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Dah! There may be several reasons why this is happening, but if they are discriminating towards anybody, I'll never give again. Oops, the cats out of the bag.

just a voice

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4:02 p.m.

I taught my daughter that we don't give to them because of their stance on gay people, won't ever until they change it. no excuses for it no matter what

Chuck Warpehoski

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

As has been mentioned, it might be part of the national boycott of the Salvation Army: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;I've seen the discrimination the Salvation Army preaches first hand," [Bill] Browning, [editor-in-chief of The Bilerico Project, a national LGBT blog], wrote. "When a former boyfriend and I were homeless, the Salvation Army insisted we break up before they'd offer assistance. We slept on the street instead and declined to break up as they demanded." Give to help those in need, yes, but I choose to support other groups that do that.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

I also don't donate because of the widely known stance against the LGBT community. Being Ann Arbor we put our money where our mouth is and isn't. There are plenty of other organizations to give to that don't discriminate. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And if you want to print out a voucher to drop in the bucket letting them know WHY you're not donating: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Louise in Ypsi

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

I tried to donate several bags of clothing and other articles, but when they didn't show up after rescheduling with them twice, I donated elsewhere. Takes cooperation on their part if they want continuned donations from people. If they're not reliable, why would anyone donate? I did try.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

i have to agree...i haven't donated to the salvation army in years because of their discrimination to the LGBT community...and i will continue to not support them...where do you draw the line in who can be discriminated against?


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

I'll second what fjord said and add that there are plenty of other groups to donate to that do similar work, but don't discriminate against gays and lesbians.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

&quot;Williams said he's not entirely sure why giving is down this year, but the economy and recent rainy days aren't helping.&quot; Or maybe it's due to greater awareness of the Salvation Army's discriminatory practices toward the LGBT community, which are the reason I don't contribute.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Does this mean that they discriminate against helping these folks? I'm shocked. They should help everyone in need.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

I totally agree, fjord. I'm a gay Viet Nam era vet, and I consider the salvation army a slap in the face.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

@Michigan Man - yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. I don't know why giving to those in need also means giving to religion. Religion does not get people off the streets, monetary help and social care do.

Michigan Man

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4 p.m.

M = The Hope Clinic, Interfaith Council for Peace, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and its many affiliated entities, Catholic Social Services + countless other Ann Arbor + Washtenaw County organizations are Christian (religious) in mission and belief. Are you suggesting charitable and generous Ann Arborites, especially at Christmas, not contribute to those organizations also?


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

Additionally, of the 4/5 of your money they don't keep themselves, a good chunk goes towards evangelizing. You can't donate to the Salvation Army without contributing to Christianity. More and more people realize this, and would rather their donation go to, you know, helping people instead of throwing more money into the pit that is religion.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

I don't know, Michigan Man, I like the red buckets and bell ringing and volunteerism, but I do feel iffy about their anti-gay stance. It's an odd kind of Christian, in my eyes, who is so good with some of Jesus' teachings (feed the poor) and so bad with others (love thy neighbor, judge not lest ye should be judged).


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

Michigan Man: hating on the LGBT community ANY time of year is not cool, is extreme, and should in no way reflect any convictions of anyone, anywhere.

Michigan Man

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

fjord = Hating on the Salvation Army at Christmas time is not cool, is extreme and in no way reflects on the charitable convictions of most Ann Arborites.