ST. CHARLES – The Salvation Army Tri City Corps ended last year's Christmas campaign with $410,000 – "a wonderful blessing" that surpassed its goal of $325,000, Maj. Jon Miller said.
This holiday season, The Salvation Army hopes to collect $375,000, an amount Miller said is based on the community's needs and last year's response.
"Because of the financial situation of our country, we want to be conservative and maintain a goal that we believe is reachable," Miller said.
The 2012 Red Kettle Campaign begins Friday with locations throughout the Tri-Cities, including Walgreens, Starbucks, Jewel, Walmart and Charlestowne Mall.
Paid bell-ringing positions are still available, Miller said. Volunteers also are welcome to help. Sign up online at www.satricity.org or call The Salvation Army at 630-377-2769 and ask for kettle coordinator David Byrne.
Money raised through the red kettles will support the organization's Christmas assistance programs and other needs throughout the year, Miller said.
So far, about 350 families have signed up for the Christmas program, Miller said, and they'll continue to sign up until Dec. 12.
"My staff indicated we're seeing more people earlier this time than in past years," he said.
Like last year, he said, The Salvation Army also is encountering past donors who are now seeking assistance. One faithful donor recently noted, while he is still donating, he is making smaller contributions, Miller said.
"I think a lot of people are experiencing that crunch," he said.