UPDATE | Salvation Army sees slump in kettle donations for this time of year
'Tis the season for giving. But instead of those red kettles overflowing, the Salvation Army says donations are down for this time of year.
"We are behind by about $7,000," said Maj. Brooks GIlliam, the area commander for Southern West Virginia. "With the Angel Tree, we have about 329 angels. A little nervous about both."
The organization says there are still several angels on the Angel Tree that need adopted. They are asking that toys for that be turned in by Dec. 12.
"We are kind of getting down to the wire a little bit," Gilliam said. "We are making some purchases, just in faith that we are going to be able to raise the money to assist those that have already come to us."
Gilliam says they have worked to make donating to the Kettle Program easier by giving people the chance to donate on their phones. However, he says there is another challenge.
"We had 27 days before Thanksgiving," GIlliam said. "Thanksgiving is a week later this year, and there's a lot of our partners that can't begin ringing the kettles at their sites until after Thanksgiving."
Gilliam says both programs help to give families a bright Christmas that may need a little extra boost and give children the opportunity to have some of their Christmas wishes granted.
"You have grandparents who are raising grandchildren on a fixed income, you have families that have been affected by the opioid crisis, you have families that might be underemployed and there's just not a lot of money, single parents from divorce or death that for whatever reason they are just falling short this year," GIlliam said. "This program really helps a segment of society. It's just for folks that find themselves down on their luck during this time of year."
The kettle program also helps to fund programs throughout the year for the Salvation Army.
Gilliam says they are still needing volunteers to help ring bells for their Kettle Program.
He says you can also visit their
to make donations.
The sound of bell ringers is a sure sign that the holidays are fast approaching.
On Friday morning, the Salvation Army kicked off their Army Kettle and Angel Tree donations in front of Charleston Town Center -- a cause that hits close to home for many, especially during the holidays.
"Well, I done it last year, and Salvation Army has helped my family before, so I'm just trying to return the favor," said Tabitha Gibson a bell ringer.
The kettle brings in the most funds in terms of donations, and works side by side with The Angel Tree to provide the best Christmas for those in need.
"We're excited that Charleston and outlining communities are very generous," said Brooks Gilliam, a Salvation Army major. "As I said in my speech, they always support us."
Additionally, the Salvation Army is no long accepting cash only at kettles. You can now donate from any smart phone that has Apple Pay or Google Pay.
"You can scan your smartphones, we have the Google and the Apple Pay, so instead if you don't have cash, which a lot of people don't carry cash anymore, you can go up literally scan and put how much you want to give," said Salvation Army Maj. Lori Gilliam.
These volunteers will be working hard, throughout the holiday season, but they say it's worth it.
"To see the look on their faces, that they may not have been able to provide Christmas and just the joy that they know it's taken care of," Brooks said.