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Red Kettle Campaign is $270K Short

Think about walking in or out of a store during the holiday season.  It almost seems incomplete without a bundled-up, bell-ringer standing next to a red, Salvation Army donation basket.

The question is:  keep moving or be charitable.  Western Pennsylvanians did more of the latter in 2012 compared to 2011, but the region's Red Kettle Christmas Campaign still came short of meeting its goal by $270,000.

William Bode, Divisional Commander for the Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, said it's not too late to help the organization reach its target donation amount of $2,827,216.99.  He said the public can contribute through January online or by mailing a check.

"There are still opportunities for people to give,"  Bode said.  "The money goes back to be used in the local communities where people are living and where the needs are."

Bode said e-donations can't compare to the physical Red Kettles stationed outside of retailers during the holiday season.

"Even though the kettles are not out on the street, we still have our online kettles available for the rest of this month, and people can still donate through donations or mail-appeal," Bode said.  "We're hoping that this gap of the $270,000 will be made up."

Bode said the donations might have fallen short because of cold and wet weather conditions, and added the economy could have contributed to the number as well.  He said the shortcomings haven't made the group consider any drastic changes yet.

"We have not made any decisions at this point to look at programs or services that we're offering," Bode said.  "We will do that probably between 30 and 60 days."

The region's biggest upsets were in Pittsburgh's north side, with a deficit of $60,608.51, and Mt. Lebanon Pittsburgh Temple Corps, with a $46,203.84 deficit.  Overall, 24 of the 39 community offices in the 28-county region had shortfalls.