North Pinellas residents are giving this Christmas season, just not quite as much as last year.
The local Salvation Army branch in Clearwater announced last week that its annual Red Kettle Campaign is lagging in the Upper Pinellas County region.
Donations are down nine percent, the organization reported. Last year brought in $345,000 in North Pinellas.
According to a media release last Wednesday, Salvation Army representatives cited a shorter-than-usual kettle season as a reason for the reduced generosity. This year’s late Thanksgiving date shortened the season by five days, which the organization equates to potentially $50,000 in givings. Nationwide, those five fewer days is estimated to have cost the kettles about $20 million.
“The short kettle season is a major concern because the red kettle campaign helps fund our programs and services throughout the year,” Capt.Zach Bell, commanding officer for the Salvation Army in Clearwater-Upper Pinellas County said in the press release. “With less than a week left to see our kettles at storefronts, we’re hoping that shoppers will think of their neighbors in need the next time they pass a Salvation Army bell ringer, and give what they can.”
Red Kettle Campaign donations stay in the community where the money is donated and help provide meals and shelter for families in need, Christmas toys for children and other services.
Salvation Army officials were hoping for a generous outpouring of support in the final days of the season.
Bell ringers and their red kettles can be found outside of local retailers and donations can also be made online at www.salvationarmyclearwater.org or by mail to 1625 N. Belcher Road, Clearwater, FL 33765.
The Salvation Army Clearwater can be reached at (727) 725-9777.