Sunday, December 16, 2001

At Ward Centre where the Salvation Army has set up collection sites, Ala Kaneshiro donated recently at the donation kettle, manned that day by bell-ringer David Patterson.

Salvation Army is
hurting in the isles

The Sept. 11 attacks could be
affecting holiday donations

By B.J. Reyes

One of the oldest and most recognizable Christmas fund-raisers has not been immune from the economic misfortunes experienced by other charities since Sept. 11.

Donations to the Salvation Army's Christmas Kettle fund-raising campaign in Hawaii have fallen as much as 25 percent compared with a year ago, an official said.

"We're not quite sure if it's a direct result of 9-11, or if it's because the economy is just not doing as well because of that crisis," said Salvation Army spokesman Daniel de Castro.

Many charities nationwide have struggled in the aftermath of Sept. 11 as potential donors coping with tough economic times have become more conservative with their charity dollars.

The Salvation Army's annual holiday fund-raiser, instantly recognizable by bell ringers alongside fire engine-red collection kettles, is more than 100 years old. It traditionally runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Lt. Col. Tom Jones, a spokesman at the Salvation Army's national headquarters in Alexandria, Va., could not provide an estimate on how the kettle campaign was faring nationally because communities typically do not report on their efforts until after the fund-raising drive is over.

"I have a random sample and it's all over the place," Jones said.

Last year, the kettle campaign in Hawaii grossed more than $500,000 statewide, de Castro said. He did not have a dollar figure on this year's campaign.

Hawaii stars turn out to help Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has enlisted the help of local celebrities as bell ringers for its annual Christmas Kettle fund-raiser. Celebrities will be staffing kettles at the Victoria Ward Entertainment Center. Among those scheduled to appear:

>> Today: Jeffrey Apaka and Friends, an impromptu musical bash featuring Jake Shimabukuro, Jesus Salud, Moe Keale, Bobby Modero, Del Beazley, Frank B. Shaner, Olana and Howard Ai and Ohana, Cobey Black, Bruce Black, Palani Vaughan, Kimo Kahoano, Mihana Aluli Souza, Maile Meyer, the Gleemen, plus Mona Teves, Randy Smith, Linda Lingle, Varoa Tiki, Steve Townsend, Debra Canada and Chris Washington, 3-5 p.m.

>> Dec. 22: Dave Lancaster of KAIM and Wally Amos, 3-4 p.m.; Trini Kaopuiki of KHON and Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono 4-5 p.m.; Kim Gennaula and Guy Hagi of KGMB 5-6 p.m.

In addition to the economic situation, de Castro said another factor in the drop in donations is the lack of collection sites at Ala Moana Center.

"That has been a major source of donations for us and this is the first year that we have not been allowed there," he said. "They've been trying to phase us out. We've been trying to plead our case that this is a real major source of collections."

Dwight L. Yoshimura, general manager of Ala Moana Center, said an agreement has been in place for the past several years to slowly phase out the Salvation Army from the shopping center.

"We basically have guidelines and a lot of it is dictated by court rulings on the use of private property," Yoshimura said. He declined further comment.

The removal of collection sites from Ala Moana has led to more kettles at other locations throughout Oahu, including at the Victoria Ward Entertainment Center, de Castro said.

The news for the Salvation Army isn't all bad. De Castro said collection sites on some of the neighbor islands are doing better than last year, although it has not been enough to offset losses in Honolulu.

Still, with more than a week of shopping days left before Christmas, de Castro said he believes the campaign can recover. Additionally, the Salvation Army has enlisted several local celebrity bell ringers to staff collection kettles over the coming days.

The kettle campaign "has become a real part of the community and a symbol of Christmas," de Castro said. "We're rather optimistic that it will pick up.

"We're hoping that, at this time of crisis, families will reach out to other families that are struggling as a result of this Sept. 11 tragedy."

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