Salvation Army calls off next 3 nights near Interlochen

ARLINGTON -- Four local mayors helped raise more than $24,000 for the Salvation Army, but the Arlington charity has still collected $68,000 less during its Red Kettle Campaign than it had at this point last year, an official said.

Mayors from Arlington, Mansfield, Dalworthington Gardens and Pantego competed to see who could raise the most for the Salvation Army's fourth annual Mayoral Challenge. Mansfield Mayor David Cook helped his city win for a third time by collecting $11,032.69, Salvation Army Lt. Patrick Jones said.

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, who won last year, came in second place this year with $10,070.25. Pantego Mayor Melody Paradise collected $2,459.80, and Dalworthington Gardens Mayor Michael Tedder raised $614.98.

The Salvation Army hopes to raise more than $400,000 through the Red Kettle Campaign to support its homeless shelter, soup kitchen and other community programs.

Despite offering free hot chocolate and Christmas carols, volunteers struggled last weekend to collect donations near the Interlochen Christmas lights display.

Located in front of the Army National Guard office at Randol Mill Road and Oakwood Lane, volunteers found that traffic was either moving too fast or too slowly for them to operate successfully.

The charity canceled plans for kettle collections tonight and Wednesday and Thursday nights, but plans to return Friday and Saturday night when larger crowds are expected, Jones said.

Last Friday and Saturday night, volunteers handed out about 300 cups and collected about $300 in donations at the Red Kettle site.

Volunteers raised about $5,000 in six nights last year at an intersection closer to the entrance to Interlochen, but the charity decided not to set up there again after complaints from homeowners along the route.

"I would love it if Interlochen would call and say come on back," Jones said.

Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578

Twitter: @susanschrock

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