Salvation Army says Red Kettle collections down from previous year, blames bell ringer shortage

2021 Salvation Army bell ringer
Posted at 7:06 AM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 07:20:15-05

NORFOLK, Va. - The Salvation Army of Hampton Roads says, with just a couple days remaining, 2021's Red Kettle collections are running behind the 2020 numbers.

According to Major David Dohmann, Area Commander for the non-profit, donations this year are about $34,000 less than the previous year. It's also around $100,000 short of its $500,000 goal.

But it's not hard to see why, he tells News 3. 80 stores have signed up to host Salvation Army bell ringers this year, but on an average day, just 30-40 bell ringers are signed up to collect.

"We certainly had some that said 'hey, we're still not comfortable going out and ringing the bell. Maybe next year,'" Dohmann said. "I think the other thing is, last year, I think a lot more people had time on their hands because of the pandemic. Offices were closed and people were wanting to get out of the house."

Fewer dollars likely means helping fewer local families with housing and food assistance, Dohmann says, but he's still happy with the money that has been collected.

There's also still hope because online collections, although also falling short of their goal, run through the end of the year.

"After the first of the year, once we get done with the holiday fundraising season, then we'll have to go back in and say, 'Okay, how far do we have to revise our budget?,'" said Dohmann.

One service that won't be impacted, he ensures, is Salvation Army's shelter work.

With this holiday season nearly through, the attention turns to getting more bell ringers to sign up for times next year. Click HERE for more information.