Salvation Army donations down

Thursday, December 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

As you do your Christmas shopping this year, you may notice a little difference outside stores, a familiar sound is being replaced, but that's not the only change.

News on Six reporter Dale Rankin says the sound that is missing at some stores in the familiar ringing of a bell by Salvation Army workers. Its being replaced by instruments, but there is something else missing so far this year...donations. They are down for the second year in a row. Last year it was weather. This year its what's going on in the world and in the economy.

Giving and the familiar Salvation Army bell ringers, sure signs that the holiday season is upon us. Bell ringer Thomas Vassel says the World Trade Center bombings have left people in a little different mood this year. "Yes, there's been a difference. More openness in people." Open hearts but not open wallets, as the giving season roars in, well; it’s a bear market. Army officials say "Cash donations are probably down about 12 percent in checks and things like that."

One day's worth of toys at the Salvation Army's downtown drop off point. How many would you have had last year on a day like this? "Probably truckloads full." It's down quite a bit? "It's down quite a bit” The one bright spot has been the Angel Tree. 300 packages are a single days donation. But out on the sidewalk, Thomas bangs his kettle every time he gets a donation, and this year his arm is getting a little too much rest.

The drop off in donations won't affect the 300 families getting help from the Salvation Army this Christmas. The families who signed up with still get food and toys. But the Salvation Army gets almost half its operating money during the Christmas season. So it’s their operation the rest of the year that will suffer.