HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Salvation Army in Huntsville is facing a $125,000 budget shortfall, Corps Officer Captain Chris Bryant said Wednesday.
He said in an effort to be transparent about the need, he wanted to talk about it.
"We want to be transparent. We want people to know we do depend on them," he explained. "We are very much a community-oriented and community-funded agency."
Bryant said three things have impacted the budget:
- Low Red Kettle campaign donations: "We had a cold, rainy Christmas here. It's kind of out of the ordinary for it to rain as it did, and it seemed to happen every weekend, which are our biggest times. Our kettles came in about $70,000 under what we needed this year," he said.
- The government shutdown: "Having such a tremendous military and federal employee presence in the Huntsville area, they're having to watch their spending and their families where they'd normally pitch in and help out organizations like the Salvation Army, this year they had to cut back on their budget on that," he noted.
- Recent storms: "With the tornadoes we've had, some of our regular donors who send us support every month were still spending support, but saying they'd like to see it used in tornado instances. And we're absolutely going to honor that request," he stated.
He told WHNT News 19 that all these events, combined, happened in succession and contributed to the situation they're in today.
"It feels like a perfect storm has just lined up and landed right in our front door. We are now having to look at, how do we get through this storm?" he explained.
He explained that the shortfall amount equates to around 2 1/2 to 3 months of operation for the Salvation Army in Huntsville.
"That means, covering our payroll. That means feeding the people in our shelter. That means housing people in our shelter."
Bryant said while many people may think of the Salvation Army during Christmas time, their services run year-round, daily, to support local communities.
So far, they have not made any cuts or scaled back operations. But if the situation continues, they might have to.
"If we can't, then it's definitely going to affect some of our operations. We don't want it to. But instead of doing 3 meals a day in our soup kitchen, we may have to cut back a meal. Things like that," he explained.
All the Salvation Army local programs are funded in this area. The unit doesn't pull resources from other communities. And it's that very local community they're turning to now.
"We are just asking for people to support in any way they feel led to," he stated.
If anyone wants to help, they can donate online at this link, or by visiting the Salvation Army local office. The address is 2114 Oakwood Ave in Huntsville. You can also mail donations to P.O. Box 3799, Huntsville, AL 35810.
This type of shortfall is rare for the organization, Bryant said.
"I've been doing this 11 years, and there's only been a handful of times I've run into this situation," Bryant explained.