Red kettles bringing in charity loot
Red kettle donations in Hawaii are lagging behind expectations but are on pace with collections last year, said Daniel de Castro, Salvation Army spokesman.
Salvation Army officials in Hawaii hope to collect $750,000 in donations this year. The red kettles brought in $719,000 last year, de Castro said.
So far, collections in some parts of the state are drastically behind last year's pace, and church officials are at a loss to explain why. In Kona, donations are running 50 percent less than this time last year. In Kaneohe, donations are 17 percent less.
Those reductions are offset by a 10 percent increase in Honolulu and 36 percent jump in Kahului.
This year, Salvation Army officials are also hoping to collect more donations online.
De Castro said this will be the third year of the church's online red kettle campaign. The previous two years were not successful, he said.
The campaign invites people to go online to volunteer to be bell ringers. People can set up their red kettle sites through Salvation Army's Web site at www.salvationarmyhawaii.org. Of course, the church is also looking for volunteers to ring bells next to actual red kettles. Paid bell ringers fill in where there are not enough volunteers.
Salvation Army accepts donations year-round, but the red kettles are out only during the holiday season. The last day the red kettles will be out is Christmas Eve.
The money collected is used to assist needy families not just during the holidays, but also during the rest of the year. Some of the activities the donations support include emergency family assistance, mobile canteens, soup kitchens, safe havens, adult day health services for seniors and youth camps for underprivileged kids.
More families have been asking for housing assistance this year, de Castro said. Salvation Army provides rental assistance to people on the verge of eviction, he said.