Salvation Army misses fundraising goal

PARKERSBURG – With the generosity of the community, the Salvation Army of Parkersburg Corps raised more than $160,000 through the red kettles fundraising campaign this fall.

“We were down a little bit,” said Lt. Mechelle Henry with the Corps. “We ended the season without reaching our goal, but that is just a number; we are very pleased with what people gave.”

The goal for the 2013 red kettle campaign was $175,000, which was raised between the start date of Veterans Day and the afternoon of Christmas Eve when it ended.

“We won’t have the final numbers for a little while because people are still giving and we are still receiving mail-in donations from our mail appeal,” Henry said.

Lt. Erik Henry, husband and co-commander of Mechelle Henry, said there were a number of factors which he believes caused the amount donated through loose change dropped in the kettles to decline.

“There were a lot of cold weather days and a lot of rainy days where people just didn’t go out to shop,” he said. “We also lost about a week because the holiday shopping season did not begin until after Thanksgiving, which fell later this year than normal.”

Mechelle Henry also attributed the fact many people did Christmas shopping on the Internet and did not pass a red kettle.

“It seemed there weren’t as many people out in the stores shopping as there have been in the past,” she said. “So that probably had something to do with it.”

The funds raised during the annual red kettle campaign helped the organization provide about 1,500 families with social services assistance and toys and gifts for nearly 5,000 children and senior citizens over the holiday season throughout the Salvation Army’s coverage region. The Corps aids families and individuals in Wood, Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Wirt and Pleasants counties.

The red kettle money goes to purchasing a meal basket for each family as well as holiday gifts for children under the age of 12 whose cards were not taken from the Angel Trees by good samaritans. Those funds also help to assist more than 5,000 individuals with rent, food, prescriptions, utility and clothing needs throughout the year, Henry said.

“Although the red kettles are only out during the holidays, the money donated through the campaign is used all year, not just for the Christmas program,” Mechelle Henry said. “We are an organization that works year round – from the cradle to the grave.”