MILWAUKEE, WI - ’Tis the season for big spending and giving graciously —but for a couple of local charities, donation dollars are down.
“You’ve heard the bells, [and] you’ve seen the kettles as you’re out at the stores," Major Steven Merritt said.
Those bells and kettles are used for collecting dollars Major Merrit considers vitally important to the ministry of the Salvation Army both now and throughout the year.
“This is the time of year to continue to give. Five dollars, ten dollars, twenty dollars, it all adds up," Merritt said.
“The money stays here locally [and] helps families now during this season and also for the coming year," he also said.
However, those donation dollars aren’t rolling in as they have in years past. According to Merritt, with 200 sites across Milwaukee, the Red Kettle Campaign typically brings in about $500,000, but this year they’re about $40,000 short and they aren't the only local group dealing with a deficit.
“Frankly, we’re not doing very well right now," Sherrie Tussler said.
“Across town, somebody maybe isn't as fortunate as you and it’s time to be generous," she also said.
Tussler, director of the Hunger Task Force, said on any given month you can find about 35,000 people standing in line at a food pantry in the city of Milwaukee and the burden is the heaviest during the holiday season. The Hunger Task Force works with local soup kitchens and food pantries to relieve that burden, and that's why Tussler is encouraging everyone to give.
“If you’re thinking that you don’t matter and that your volunteer work doesn’t matter, I’m here to say that it does and we’re encouraging people to get involved and stay involved," Tussler said.
“People should get on board before Christmas day, but they should stay on board. Start that season of giving and caring, but keep it up throughout the winter months," she continued.
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign ends December 23rd this year, a day earlier than in years past. Those interested in donating to either the Salvation Army or the Hunger Task Force can do so by using the links below: