The Bells Were Ringing, But Local Kettle Campaign Came Up Short

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CENTRAL TEXAS (December 24, 2013) A combination of wintry weather and a shortened shopping season took a toll on the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Campaign in Central Texas.

As of Christmas Eve, the campaign produced about $104,000 in donations in McLennan County, short of the Salvation Army’s $150,000 goal.

Last year the campaign raised about $125,000.

In East Bell County the Salvation Army expects about $65,000 in kettle donations this season, short of the $85,000 raised last year.

Major Dan Ford of the Salvation Army in Waco says the bell-ringing season has been impressive, but disappointing.

"We had some awesome volunteers brave the cold and the weather during the first of the month, the other side to that is not everyone wanted to stand out in the cold to volunteer," he said.

"Volunteers either cancelled or postponed to ring another day,” he said.

The Salvation Army had 23 kettle sites in McLennan County, but not all were used at the same time.

East Bell County had 12.

The kettles were picked up Tuesday afternoon.

Christmas Eve was the last day of the annual bell-ringing campaign, although donations may still be made online.

Ford says he expects McLennan County's final kettle total to reach a little more than $110,000.

"Word has gotten out that we were down, and people have stepped up," he said.

"But we're still way behind our goal. The sad part about working for a non-profit is telling people you can't service them because you don't have resources. That scenario could happen after the bell ringing season we've had so far,” he said.