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•To donate, volunteer or learn more about the programs, visit www.safortwayne.org, call 744-2311, or mail or drop off monetary donations and gift cards to Salvation Army, 2901 N. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN 46805.
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Standing in front of his red kettle, Joe Stellhorn rings his bells Tuesday for the Salvation Army outside the Sam’s Club store on Lima Road.

Bell ringers set to pack away kettles

The Salvation Army’s red kettles remained at about 50 area business until 5 p.m. Christmas Eve, gathering up the last of the money the organization collects each holiday season.

This year’s goal was $265,000. As of Saturday evening, the Salvation Army tallied just over $190,000, which was about 72 percent of the goal, according to Major Harold Poff.

That was as far as officials counted, though. Strong donations continued through Sunday and Monday, leaving the organization optimistic about getting closer to the goal.

“Typically, the last couple of days, we see an influx,” Poff said.

After the 2012 Red Kettle campaign fell more than $73,000 short of its $325,000 goal, Salvation Army officials reduced the fundraising bar to $265,000. The money collected through the bell ringers pays for the organization’s programs for the entire year, including helping families with rent and food costs, school supplies, Angel Tree and an after-school program.

The closeness of Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, separated by less than a month, may have affected donations a bit, narrowing the amount of time people are focused on Christmas, Poff said.

Anyone interested in donating to the Salvation Army can still do so after the kettles are taken away from storefronts.

“We appreciate the community’s support, and anything they can do to contribute will be very much appreciated and very useful for the next year,” Poff said.

rgreen@jg.net

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