Donation downturn


POSTED: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Salvation Army's red kettles across the state are running low in donations during this holiday season as the weakened economy forces residents to clamp down on their budgets.

As of Saturday, donations were down 11 percent, to $477,000 from about $538,000 at the same time last year.

Last year, the Salvation Army collected $720,000 through red-kettle donations.

“;I'm hopeful that we can match, if not exceed, what we had last year,”; said spokesman Daniel de Castro. “;The people of Hawaii have always been very generous. That has been tested in very different ways in times of crisis. They know people are hurting out there.”;

The economic downturn is believed to be a main factor in the drop in donations.

“;People are perhaps a little more cautious about giving this year,”; de Castro said.

On Windward Oahu, donations were down 32 percent, to $24,000 from $36,000 at the same time last year.

However, the Salvation Army was unable to place bell ringers at four prime locations that it had used in previous years, contributing to the decline, he said.

On the neighbor islands, donations on Maui and Kauai and in Hilo are far from robust, although donations in Kona show a slight increase.

Of the neighbor islands, Kauai experienced the highest drop — an estimated 34 percent. In Hanapepe, residents donated $11,500 this year, compared with nearly $19,000 at the same time last year. In Lihue, residents donated $23,500 this year, compared with $33,000 last year.

Donations help those in need and victims of emergencies.

Currently, the Salvation Army is assisting three families in Haleiwa, one of the sites that were directly affected by recent heavy rains that caused flood damage to many homes. The organization also provided temporary shelter, food and clothes to more than 34 homeless people in Hanapepe.

About 110 red-kettle sites are located across the state. Bell ringers are at designated sites from Mondays through Saturdays. Potential donors have until Christmas Eve to make a donation.

Aside from the red-kettle designated sites that include Longs Drug, Safeway and Don Quijote stores, those who want to make a donation can also go the Salvation Army's Web site at