Syracuse-area Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign closes for 2021 season

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Salvation Army Syracuse Area Services closed its Red Kettle campaign Christmas Eve and organizers say the totals fell about 20% short of their season goals.

The Salvation Army says its kettles brought in about $170,000 this season, which they say is better than last year but not quite what they were hoping for.

“I think the last year we had pre-Covid was up about 213,000, 214,000, so it was significantly higher but there were certainly more volunteers out that year,” Major David Dean, director of Onondaga County operations for the Salvation Army, says. “When we got people out, we had really good days.”

The shortfall this year coming largely because of a shortage of staff and volunteers. Much like the worker shortage facing the country, Major Dean says they’re seeing the same thing at the Salvation Army, which trickles down to volunteers.

“If you have less people working, you’re going to have less people volunteering as well,” Major Dean says. “We’re down 40 to 50 employees right now at the Salvation Army. We just can’t get people to fill positions so that certainly carried over to volunteering as well. We had one route that fell 40% short of its goal — $40,000 dollars short — so that’s a massive shortfall that was just because they didn’t have the people to go out every day.”

Weather also played a role. Major Dean says many of their most popular days, like Fridays and Saturdays, were rain days, so people were less likely to stop as they ran out to their car.

A less than expected total this season might have an affect on their budget. In the new year, Major Dean says they’ll gather their totals from the kettles, plus other donations that have come in, and see where they’re at.

“There are no cuts at Christmas time obviously because that’s our biggest time of the year, but we are open the other 365 days of the year. In Syracuse, we never shut down, all of our shelters and residences we have, so it’s vital we raise that money,” Major Dean says. “But we’ll go back and look at it and spread it across the board, and make it as pain free as we can to all the different departments that we run.”

No matter how it shakes out, Major Dean says the community always comes through.

“These people are as generous as any as I’ve ever come across and I think it behooves us well for the future. It sets the not-for-profits up for success. It sets the community up to get the help that they need.”

Major Dean

The Salvation Army says it all possible because of the community’s support as well as their partnerships with Onondaga County, private companies and other organizations. Major Dean says Christmas might be their busiest season, but they work year round to meet the needs of the community. Anyone who wishes to volunteer or donate can visit their website here.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Live Doppler 9 Map Center

CNY View

CNY View

CNY View

Oswego Area

Oswego Area

Syracuse Area

Syracuse Area