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Red Kettle Goal Grows In Western PA

While a few bell ringers have already hit the streets before Thanksgiving, theSalvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign kicks into high gear Black Friday, as volunteers brave the crowds in an effort to get a jump start on a record-setting fundraising goal.

Deborah Sedlar, the head of the Western Pennsylvania Salvation Army, said the Red Kettle campaign is the charity’s biggest fundraiser of the year; they've set a goal in western Pennsylvania of $2,813,000, which is 8 percent more than last year.  The goal in Allegheny County is up 9 percent, to $726,000.

The goals will be challenging. “One of the concerns is the availability of stands,” Sedlar said. “Some of the stores, by right, they have limited how much we can place a kettle at a store and as those number of days shrink somewhat, it does hurt our potential to raise the needed dollars.”

Working in the Salvation Army's favor are the fact that there are two more days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year compared to last year, and the fact that Christmas falls on a Sunday — Sedlar said giving on Christmas Eve is always strong and having it fall on a Saturday will help.

The Salvation Army is still looking for volunteers to brave the cold to ring a bell.

“Whether it’s families or service groups that gather together or even school groups that want to stand.  Those are the folks that mean the most to us because if we have volunteers standing then we don’t have to worry about hiring people to stand,” Sedlar said.

Allegheny County is broken in eight sub units.  All of the money dropped into kettles stays within those units.  The same is true for the other 32 subdivisions in the remaining 27 counties in the western Pennsylvania division.

Sedlar said online giving has been growing in recent years, but the physical kettles are where the bulk of the giving is done.

The photo above was provided by Salvation Army USA West via Flickr.