Salvation Army falls short on donations

The Salvation Army is more than $25,000 away from its Christmas goal and is asking the community for more help to prevent staff cuts.

Major Ben Stillwell, of the Salvation Army, said the nonprofit has until Feb. 10 to reach the goal of $238,000 – an amount of money that will maintain its current services and jobs. Right now The Salvation Army is at just more than $212,775.

“I would respectfully request anybody and everybody who possibly could continue to support us, please consider giving us a donation because we could certainly use it to reach our goal and maintain our current level of service,” Stillwell said. “I’m not literally trying to beg but I’m close, really close.”

On Feb. 12, Stillwell said he will need to revise the budget.

“It’s not frightening, but it’s sobering to look at it,” Stillwell said. “Before we ever got here it was close to bare bones and I feel like we will have to make more brick with less straw.”

This year The Salvation Army raised $46,538.18 from its Kettle Bell Campaign, this number is down a little more than $17,000 from last year.

Stillwell says he believes the numbers are down because of the weather.

“We’ve had a couple really cold, really horrible days, I was out and I was dying,” Stillwell said. “Usually only at the end of January and early February it gets this cold, not November and December. The weatherman didn’t corporate like we would have liked him to.”

This year, the bellringers started the campaign eight days later than last year.

However, the amount of gifts and gifts in-kind increased from last year.

“We are up a little bit, but it’s in gifts in-kind not cash, which is wonderful because we’ve given it out,” Stillwell said. “The community is very wonderful about gifts in-kind.”

On Thanksgiving, 521 meals were served, 321 Christmas baskets were donated to families, 62 coats were given away and 2,545 toys were donated.

“I’ve been impressed with the community’s giving and impressed with the paper telling our story,” Stillwell said.

The Salvation Army helped 2,045 people from Oct. 1 2012 to Sept. 15, 2013, its last fiscal year. This year, Stillwell said he predicts the Salvation Army will help 2,500 local people. He said the majority of the donations go to people in Marshalltown and a small number throughout the rest of the county.

Stillwell said those interested in donating can send donations to P.O. Box 482, 50158 or to The Salvation Army at 107-109 W. State Street.

“We are just attempting to remind those who haven’t donated to please send it in now, before the 10th,” Stillwell said. “In a nice way, we don’t want to cut services. We’d have to reorganize staff and maybe cut some positions and nobody wants to do that, but it’s realistic.”