The Christmas season is usually the time for giving and for the Salvation Army that means much of their donations come with the ringing of a bell.
Susan Eustice, divisional director of public relations and communications, says contributions to the red kettles helped more than 25,000 children and families during the Christmas holidays alone.
But the Salvation Army still has a ways to go to reach its $3.1 million goal during the Tree of Lights campaign. It is $600,000 short of that goal and is counting on last-minute donations from people who still want to receive a tax write-off through the new year.
“If you're making last-minute decisions with your attorneys or accountants or your family, please consider the Salvation Army,” says Eustice. She says generally, donations go down after Christmas, this year even more so because of uncertainty in the market.
“We are seeing a real lack of confidence out there in some donors. What is going on in Washington does need to be resolved and once it does maybe donations will return, but right now they’re understandably holding back.”
But as people hold back the need continues to grow. It’s the public's donations that help support more than 20 programs at the Salvation Army, including its food pantries. For the past several years they've been seeing more and more bare shelves as a growing number of people count on their services.
Because more donations are necessary, Eustice says the Tree of Lights campaign will be extended into January. “People are coming to us in huge numbers, in fact we've seen some of our donors become recipients of our services and that's a startling fact.”
The Salvation Army hopes to reach its campaign goal of $3.1 million and turn the lights off on January 12th.
Last year, more than 170,000 people in the metro were assisted by the Salvation Army. You can always mail a check, donate online or give a $10 donation with your phone by texting "Omaha" to 80888.