East Stroudsburg Salvation Army Kettle Campaign Falling Short

East Stroudsburg Salvation Army Kettle Campaign Falling Short

Leaders say a change in a local Walmart's policy is costing the Salvation Army more than $10,000.
East Stroudsburg, Monroe County – While Salvation Army volunteers ring donation bells, Salvation Army leaders are ringing warning bells.

EastStroudsburg Salvation Army Major James Gingrich said," You have more people
asking for help at the same time you're having less resources coming in to
provide for that."

The Salvation Army office in Monroe County is falling behind on Christmas Kettle donations.
Gingrich said so far this year they’ve collected about $12,000 less than this
time last year. "We really feel the pressure to raise the money now to help
people all throughout the year,” he worried.

Gingrich said the local Salvation Army usually starts its Kettle Campaign in early
November. One of the most lucrative spots is the Walmart in East Stroudsburg. Gingrich
noted, "The manager of the local Wal Mart could not be more helpful and

Gingrich told Eyewitness News this year the Walmart national office said bell ringers
can’t work there until Black Friday.  A Walmart spokesperson said it has always been company policy to wait until Black Friday to allow bell ringers on property. She was unsure sure why that was not
the case in East Stroudsburg.

Smaller independent stores are allowing bell ringers now. American Candle in
Bartonsville is one of them. Pattie Howanitz owns that store. She said, "I'm
just shocked. I can't believe it. I really really am worried about them under
the circumstances."

The Salvation Army will try to make up the difference by trying something new this
year. They'll be putting miniature red kettles on business counters so people
can put their change in them. Howanitz said, "Hopefully they can pull in
some more dollars there." She added, "The Salvation Army is very dear
to our heart. They do an enormous amount of good for the local community."

Gingrich said the Kettle Campaign is vital. Money collected in them pays for people in
need to get Christmas food and gifts. It also goes to pay for things like
shelters and soup kitchens.

In addition to struggling to raise money with the kettles, The East
Stroudsburg Salvation Army is also having trouble with its annual mail
campaign. So far it’s about $4,000 behind where it was last year. "We're
hearing a lot of people express their concerns about they don't know what's
going to happen with their health care costs, if that's going to increase so
they don't know how much they have that they can really afford to donate,” said
Gingrich. “"Until they figure that out they don't know how much they can
afford to donate to any agency, let alone the Salvation Army."

If the problems with the Kettle Campaign and the mail fundraising continue, Gingrich said the local Salvation
Army could lose about 20% of its operating budget. He hopes the community will
step up to help.




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