The York Salvation Army announced that this year’s Christmas kettle returns are behind. “We really only have 12 kettle days to make up a $25,000 shortfall, just to get what we got last year. Not saying anything about going beyond that and meeting our goal for this year. Our goal for this year is $240,000,” said George Lenkner with York Salvation Army.
Lenkner believes one factor is the shorter Christmas season. “Thanksgiving was at the very end of November, Christmas of course is always on the 25th so there’s five less days that people would be passing the kettles, seeing the kettles, and having the opportunity to put a few dollars in.”
The rain, snow and ice this past week have also put a damper on donations. “We have had rain, we’ve had snow, we’ve had ice, we’ve had very cold temperatures and all of those contribute to fewer people going out at the malls, fewer people staying at the malls longer, and even it’s a deterrent for some of our kettle workers.”
Lenkner also believes that a change in shopping habits have affected donations. “When people go to the malls they don’t take cash, they’re using their credit cards. Many people are shopping online. I even saw a statistic that fewer people on black Friday shopped than in previous years.”
Proceeds from the kettle campaign provide Christmas food, turkeys and toys to some 2000 families, and support the Family Emergency Services of The Salvation Army throughout the year. “We have a food pantry program that operates every day giving out food to the needy families. We have utility assistance, we have rent assistance, we have emergency medical prescriptions, we have a tutoring program, an after-school program and more,” said Lenkner.
“When we are faced with shortfalls, it’s disheartening, because we say we would like to serve more people but we just don’t have the resources to do it,” said Lenkner.
Kettles are located at 20 locations throughout the county and are staffed by bell ringers from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day except Sunday.
For more information regarding the campaign call The Salvation Army at (717)848-2364.