BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — An annual holiday tradition that encapsulates the spirit of giving is falling short. The Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign is struggling this year. But a Christmas miracle may be just around the corner.
The iconic bell ringing and red kettles are a staple at grocery stores and shopping centers during the holiday season.
But the Salvation Army says donations are running well behind last year and that could create “dire” consequences for services.
“But this year we are falling considerably behind where we should be at this point to reach our goal for the year,” declared Major Annette Lock, director of operations, Salvation Army, Buffalo.
The goal this season is $450,000, but so far they've only raised about 62-percent of that with just six Red Kettle day left.
This year a late Thanksgiving shortened the campaign.
“That gives us several less days, about a week less than we normally would have to be able to collect. That has an effect on what we can do,” Lock remarked.
A Red Kettle site at the Tops on Niagara Street in Buffalo is one of about 75-kettle stands in Erie County.
Lock's husband, Major John Lock, serves as associate director of operations.
Lock noted donations placed in the Red Kettles are “crucial” to many salvation army programs.
“We have typical feeding programs, a senior program. We have after school programs. We run a homeless shelter. We have employment services,” Lock explained.
New this season the Salvation Army added electronic giving through Google or Apple Pay.
You can use your phone to give, but that's not gaining much traction so far.
“We haven't seen the kind of the results we would like to see for that yet,” Lock noted.
But even with word of lower kettle donations, there was certainly a giving spirit among these west side shoppers.
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign has been a tradition for over 100-years and now they're counting on you for help.
Starting this Friday the Salvation Amy will host a 24-hour Red Kettle event at the Walmart in Hamburg.
“God Bless you,” declared the bell ringer inside the Tops lobby.