DECATUR, Ala. - Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign is one of the United States's longest running fundraisers, starting in 1891. With only days left in this year's campaign, the chapter serving Morgan, Lawrence, and Limestone counties is short more than $50,000 of their $110,000 goal.
"As of this past weekend we're only at about $58,000 and we'll keep ringing to raise as much as we can until Christmas Eve," said Lt. Richard Watts of the Decatur Salvation Army.
Funds raised through the campaign are primarily for Christmas programs, but officials say having to spend additional resources for Christmas limits their ability to provide services later on in the year.
"There's no one reason why we're down," Watts added. "The economy is good so we don't have as many bell ringers, the weather has been bad on the weekends, which are our best days, so its multiple reasons why we're having a hard time this year."
Officials say no matter where the shortage is coming from, one thing is for sure - they need more bell ringers and more people to drop money in the buckets.
"In the past, we’ve had anywhere from 15-18 bell ringers a day for these three counties, and this year we have had 8-10 on a regular basis," Watts explained. "We’re down in both volunteers and paid bell ringers and again, it's tough to say exactly why."
Watts says it is concerning, but they will do the best with what they have.
"We look at the numbers and we do see that we're down. So on the financial side, we are concerned but we also know that God provides what we need," Watts stated. "So we trust in His goodness and His faithfulness to give us exactly what we need."
Although it is coming down to the wire, Salvation Army officials say it's not too late to sign up to volunteer or donate.
Watts says if you don't carry cash, they also accept checks at the kettles.
If you can't make it to a Red Kettle this year, they accept donations throughout the year.
To sign up to volunteer with the Salvation Army serving Morgan, Lawrence, and Limestone counties, call (205) 353-2822.