Salvation Army scrambling to recover from winter hit

12/15/2013 7:28 PM

12/15/2013 8:17 PM

The recent ice storm, which paralyzed the Fort Worth region during a holiday shopping weekend, has put the Salvation Army in a bind.

With a Christmas Eve deadline for the traditional Red Kettle fund-raising campaign, donations are down almost $600,000 compared with last year.

The campaign, which traditionally kicks off on Thanksgiving Day, was behind from the get-go because the holiday fell later than usual. Then came the Dec. 7 sleet storm that dropped a blanket of ice on area roads and the Salvation Army to close down its 500 Red Kettle locations for two days.

“We can just hope that those people who were going to put in a dollar in the kettles, put in $2,” Salvation Army spokesman Pat Patey said Sunday. “There’s nothing much we can do.”

Last year, the Red Kettle campaign raised $2.3 million in a five-county area of North Texas that included Tarrant, Dallas, Ellis, Collin and Denton counties.

Red Kettle volunteer Steven Barker of Fort Worth said Sunday that the agency will need help to reach that goal this holiday season.

“When it got icy, I knew there was no way we could get out there for donations,” Barker said Sunday.

Barker is a veteran Red Kettle ringer, having helped the Salvation Army the last 13 years. This season, he splits his time between Cabela’s in north Fort Worth and Kroger’s in North Richland Hills.

“I sing Christmas carols and gospel hymns,” Barker said. “I do what I can to get people to donate because the Salvation Army helps people.”

With 10 days left before Christmas, Patey said the agency could use some good shopping days to help the campaign.

“Even if it’s cold, and not sleeting, people will go out and shop,” Patey said. “And we’ll be there.”

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