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Posted on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Washtenaw County Salvation Army sees $25K decline in donations

By Katrease Stafford


Major John Williams of The Salvation Army poses with a pile of toys and food collected from Sunday's Stuff the Blue Goose event in Saline. Williams said they have 1,500 families signed up to participate in the Salvation Army Toy Shop on Dec. 19. "We don't want any child to go without a toy under the tree, " he said.

Daniel Brenner I

The Salvation Army of Washtenaw County has seen a $25,000 decline in donations for the first time in five years, according to organization officials.

"Maybe it’s the economy maybe some people haven’t gotten on their feet," said Maj.John Williams, corps officer and Washtenaw County Salvation Army coordinator.

The organization has a $330,000 goal to reach in its 2012 Red Kettle Campaign fundraising effort. Williams said the lack of funds would greatly affect the organization's mission and services it provides to individuals and families throughout the county.

Last year, The Salvation Army provided more than 32,200 meals, 21,900 nights of shelter and 7,500 Christmas gifts.

"We're past the halfway mark, it's troubling," Williams said. "Eighty-two cents of every dollar raised goes toward direct services. Perhaps we can't pay bills or provide assistance, basic services and needs. We may not be able to pay the amounts we normally pay."

Williams said he always sees an increase in need around the holidays, but that need continues through the entire year.


The Salvation Army is seeking more donations.

Daniel Brenner |

"We will probably do well over 1,500 families this year in terms of Christmas food and presents," Williams said. "This fund really helps year round. They also return through March and April when heating bills increase."

In addition to the decline in donations, the number of available sites for bell ringers has declined, Williams said. The Salvation Army typically has about 40 sites, but this year they have around 32.

"We’ve also lost some bell ringing sites," Williams said. "They’ve been used by other agencies and we were asked not to ring. I'm not sure we’re why we’ve lost those sites."

In addition to donations, the organization is looking for more volunteers to help out at the available sites in two or more hour shifts.

"It's important because first of all you're helping your neighbor," Williams said. "All the funds stay here in the county. You're helping folks you may know and it's not someone in another land. It's right here and folks who are struggling with basic needs."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Mike D.

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 4:01 a.m.

I donate to Ozone House and Food Gatherers instead of the Salvation Army because of the Salvation Army's stated anti-gay stance. I suspect many others do the same.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

"I'm not sure we're why we've lost those sites" I have never heard someone make that sort of mistake while speaking. Is that quote correct?

Carrie Rheingans

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

For those seeking some examples of the Salvation Army's history of being anti-gay: The Week has a timeline of some of the more prominent examples: U.S. News: NYT: The SA also has a history of campaigning against same sex marriage laws, or against the repeal of anti-gay laws, in some countries (many listed here: This includes many US allies: New Zealand, Scotland, the UK, & Australia


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

If your religion said that "being black" was "not OK," would you say that's fine because it's "just what your religion believes?" Would I be expected to be "tolerant" of that prejudice?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

While you are all busy researching about the SalArm not supporting gays, why don't you look into what the money goes toward. You will see the CEO of the SalArm has the lowest income of all CEO's in the country. It's funny how it is intolerant when someone has a religious belief. How it is intolerant that they do not support gays. Yet look at all of you, you are intolerant of any religion. Name one religion that says that being gay is ok. I am tired of the onesidedness when it comes to these things. I am not stating my support for or against gays but I support the Salvation Army 100%. They helped me when I needed it, I will not look down upon ANYONE willing to help the lesser man.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

jrigglem, you can't reason with these individuals, they've become so hypocritical with their ideologies that it's beyond comprehension, I guess they feel better paying higher administration costs and ridiculous CEO salaries to keep these supposedly charities afloat than those that focus on helping more in need?


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

It is not that they "don't support"; they actively discriminate by lobbying governments to criminalize homosexuality. Ceasing to support an organization that does that has nothing to do with religious discrimination, and there are Christian religions that have active gay ministers, so yes, there are religious groups out t here who welcome anyone to the flock. Lots of organizations are willing to help folks, but many people are now trying to be savvy about giving to the organization that best represents their beliefs. Some of us don't want our money spent on efforts to criminalize homosexuality.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

Really? They go out of their way to discriminate against gays? On their forms for help they ask their sexual preference? When they apply for a job they ask for their sexual preference? I'm pretty sure both of those are illegal so they cannot. Just because a religion does not agree with homosexuality does not mean they are intolerant. It is a religious belief. I don't believe they would turn anyone away just because of their lifestyle choices. Show me a lawsuit showing them discriminating against gays. And you don't have to give your hard earned money to them, but for once I wish there wasn't all this hoopla because someone doesn't agree with someone being gay. It's tired and over done.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Once again, it's not about "supporting gays." It's about active intolerance toward and discrimination against gay people. Two very different things. I don't think anyone would deny that the SA does good work, and I'm glad they were able to help you, but when it comes to choosing where to give your hard-earned dollars, I would choose charities that don't discriminate against any group.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Just adding my straight voice to the chorus. I stopped donating to the Salvation Army when their intolerant attitudes toward gay people were made public. There are so many organizations doing good work--why would I violate my own principles by giving money to an organization that villifies and discriminates?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Part of the reason so many Americans are backing off from charitable giving is a fear that Washington pols will cap charitable tax deductions in a fiscal cliff deal -- a hot topic in the recent presidential campaign. Dunham & Co. says a tax cap on deductions would be devastating for charitable institutions, as 33% of Americans would cut their philanthropic donations, the firm predicts.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

Yes...David Koch already warned us....

Top Cat

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

None of the changes being discusse regarding donations would affect taxes and charitable donations for 2012.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

I used to donate but not anymore. It's 2012 and discriminating against minorities (the gay community) should be a thing of the past but it isn't. The only thing these homophobes care about is their bottom line $$$$ gotta hit em where it hurts. There are many, many more deserving charities out there...that care about ALL people


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

In this new century, The Salvation Army is serving more people in the USA than ever before. We are already seeing large increases in the number of Americans seeking the basic necessities of life - food, shelter, and warmth. Approximately 30 million people received help from The Salvation Army in 2011, but the magnitude of the mission facing The Salvation Army in communities throughout the United States remains great. Out of 30 million people how many were gay or lesbian? How many heterosexuals donated to the AIDS foundations and research over the last 30 years, maybe they were all LGBT? I know I donated and I may not agree with the lifestyle but I supported. Granted Salvation Army may have policies that are against homosexuality but I bet they still give to those that need help regardless.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

If a gay couple needs housing from the SA, the SA will not help them because of their partnership. Hate is such a ugly thing!!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

@'d be surprised to find out that many ignorant people still consider HIV "the gay disease"...


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

You know straight people get HIV too, right?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

The gays want to be accepted by the general population and force their views upon others but then villify an organization that has core beliefs that would have to be violated to satisfy them. The all inclusive, tolerant, and all accepting left strikes again................


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Mike....What is wrong with you ? don't you realize that when it comes to the left ie: being paranoid about gun owners being paranoid or being hateful towards people who they claim are hateful is acceptable ? get with the program dude.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Choosing to not give my hard-earned money to certain charities is "intolerant?" Why do you hate the free market so much? Are you a communist?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Sort of like the Catholic church?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

It doesn't surprise me with the high unemployment rate in this state, increases in taxes and fees, high gas prices, high food prices, high energy prices, low real estae prices, and the federal government consuming more and more of this country's wealth............


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Anyone have other suggestions for holiday charities? My super gay dollars want to find a new home :)

Holly Richardson

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

HARC, Food Gatherers, Haven, the Neutral Zone...any of these would appreciate your support! Plus there are local affirming/welcoming congregations that can guide your dollars to gay friendly groups in need.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Emily, your local Meals on Wheels could use some of those dollars--they usually have waiting lists of people in need--along with your local food bank and, of course, Toys for Tots.

Top Cat

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

I will speculate on a different reason. The kettles are for cash. People are less inclined to give cash as there is little accountabilty for it and there are more stories of the cash being pilfered.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

i saw a woman sit down, pull out her checkbook and was writing a check to put in the kettle at Hiller's last week. kettles also look locked.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

I was coming here to post the same thing as everyone else. I no longer give to the Salvation Army due to their anti-gay stance. Hopefully they will read here, and understand that their prejudice has real repurcussions.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

Perhaps it is because many people do no feel it is right to donate to an organization that has politically allied itself against the LGBT community. There are also many other causes that people donate to, and last, we are becoming a cashless society. When the beggars start using smartphones with card readers, it will then truly have happened.

Steven Murphy

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

"Maybe it's the economy..." Are you kidding! It's the economy along with (in my case) a certain scumbag CEO....... that killed me with her GREED!!!!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

I'm sure donations are down because of all the negative publicity they garnered in the past couple years due to going public with their anti-gay viewpoints.... This is the 21st century folks.....there are FAR too many educated and intelligent people today for those ignorant with fear to still to reign. Put another look darn stupid when you act homophobic....period...


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

I'd like to know something.Why is it that if someone is not " pro gay " or just does not agree with it ( for whatever reason ) they are labeled "homophobic" or " hateful " ?. Now I know I will just get a dozen or so thumbs down here ( like I really care ).But per usual I doubt I'll get any actual answers.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

Salvation Army has a record of actively lobbying governments worldwide for anti-gay policies such as asking that they make consensual gay sex illegal. So folks have decided to give to organizations that do not use their dollars in such ways. I personally find the Red Cross to be pretty neutral, but there are also lots of local charities where the money goes right to individuals and families who need it.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Running total.14 thumbs down 4 replies 0 answers.Right now I'm batting a thousand


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Hmmm....still no answer.dsponini that is so 1980's.No, one does not have to be just tolerant and respectful one has to embrace it otherwise they are hateful and homophobic.I know gay people and I have no problem with them.I am not disrespectful or hateful in any way towards them. On a side note....Has anyone noticed how allows insults ( like being called ignorant ) towards people on the right but not the other way around ? I suppose I'll get deleted just for bringing that up.


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.'s not that we are asking anyone to be PRO gay. Just be tolerant and respectful....that's all. I know not everyone will accept me as a gay man and I'm okay with that...but when you start treating me different or discriminating against me or denying me rights that everyone else has...that's where it becomes a problem. If you respect me, I will give that respect back ten fold. That's how it works....


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Billy......Well I googled it,way too many sites could you direct me to a site by the Salvation Army on their polices ? predicted you did not answer my question.I'll bet I don't get a answer to my actual question


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Actually hoss....they have been VERY public about their ANTI-GAY policies... Google is your friend....


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

Sadly, I cannot support an organization that is homophobic. I once rang the bell, unaware of the beliefs the organization holds and immediately stopped upon learning what they believe. They, along with other organizations who continue to discriminate, will not see my business or donation dollars.


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

Prior to this revelation how much did any of you donate to the Salvation Army?


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

I agree with you, eom. In terms of the people who the Salvation Army's programming assists, I have never seen an instance of discrimination towards LGBT persons.

Susan Montgomery

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Agreed. Most balanced article I have seen about in a paper of record is at "Last year, the Salvation Army USA removed from its website a controversial position statement on homosexuality that suggested gay Christians "embrace celibacy as a way of life." Salvation Army Maj. George Hood, the organization's national community relations secretary, said it "was a theological statement not meant for an external audience and it was creating a lot of confusion." "A relationship between same-sex individuals is a personal choice that people have the right to make," Hood said. "But from a church viewpoint, we see that going against the will of God."