The metro came up a little short this year when it came to putting the metal to the kettle. The Salvation Army’s Tree of Lights campaign is running behind last year’s pace and a number of programs are in jeopardy.
The Red Kettle drive has wrapped up for the year bringing in more than a half-million dollars but the Salvation Army is still short of its overall $3 million goal. It's hoping a last minute push can turn things around.
Every day, for 51 weeks of the year, between 100 and 200 people walk through the line at the Kare Kitchen in North Omaha. If she can get a ride, Sandra Wells eats there once a week.
"There are a lot of people going hungry," she said.
The free, hot meal of chili and fruit cup at the North Corps branch allows their dollars at home to stretch a little bit longer.
Lt. Pam Kasten with the Salvation Army said, "If we don't make goal, this would be one of the programs we would have to cut back on."
The Christmas drive fund-raiser pays for everything the Salvation Army does for the rest of the year. Over at the north branch, the cafeteria covers as the gymnasium for the Salvation Army's after-school programs. Every day, 100 children will filter through. The kettle drive pays for a teacher to help with homework and for staff to keep them safe and off the streets.
Lt. Kasten said, "If the goal isn't met, it affects the program and we're not able to do as much as we're doing. We're going to do the best that we can but there are no guarantees at this point."
You can still help even though kettles are shut down for the year. If you’d like to donate, click here.