Salvation Army to keep ringing bells past Christmas
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - You'll see Salvation Army bell ringers outside the store after Christmas this year. It's a rare move, and it's because donations are down this year.
Outside the Walgreens at Broadway and Swan, Randy Hartford was ringing away and watching people drop donations into his kettle.
"Its great, it kind of restores my faith in humanity; the generosity of the people, they're all very generous. It doesn't matter age or race, Every body wants to do their part."
But people are putting less money in the kettles overall. Salvation Army Major Edward Markham says collections are down 45 to 50 thousand dollars compared to last year and that was already a down year.
He says, "It means we're going to have to tighten our belts a little bit more and a little bit more and I know people say maybe that's what we need to do but after awhile the belt gets too tight and things end up being cut. We don't want to cut our programs we don't want to cut our services to the clients who come to us in need but there is that reality that sets in and says he can't do any more than we're able to do."
So this year Salvation Army will keep the kettles out past Christmas and keep the bells ringing almost to New Year. That's happened a few times before but it's still a rare move.
Bob Medalen dropped some cash in the kettle. He is still sharing what he has.
"If you have something to give you should give; because you know, to help others to have a Merry Christmas, like you."
To help bring a Merry Christmas to kids in need, Risky Business restaurants gave the Salvation Army ten thousand dollars for toys. Owner Robert Raynor says he was adopted by a great mom and dad; and that drives him to help kids now.
"The idea of being lucky enough to be able to give puts you in a position where you appreciate what you have and at Christmas time especially, when you go and see these children or the parents getting toys at any one of these places that happen in Tucson, it's just pretty heart-rending to see it. We've been doing it for several years and I think it's something I will always continue to do."
Bud Johnson says he'll keep dropping cash in kettles like Randy's.
"Well they put it to good use and I had some extra change in my pocket; so if I have some extra change in my pocket they'll get it on the way out too."
KGUN 9 reporter Craig Smith asked him: "They're telling us things have fallen off a little bit, this year, what do you think of that?"
Johnson: It's the economy. The economy's bad, people are tight. They're holding onto their money but a little change never hurt anybody."
If you'd like to help the Salvation Army, you can visit the organization's website.