Washtenaw County Salvation Army sees $25K decline in donations
Daniel Brenner I AnnArbor.com
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.
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
"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."