ELKHART — Early returns for the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle fundraising campaign are a little behind what they were last year, but organizers remain optimistic that their goals will be reached.
Major Steve Woodard said that as of Friday, the Elkhart Salvation Army had raised $47,060.91.
“It’s going okay,” Woodard noted. He said the total raised so far is about $4,000 behind pace from this time last year.
He acknowledged they still have much work yet to do, especially since the Salvation Army raised their goal for the kettles alone to $100,000 this year.
Just over a week ago, however, the Elkhart Army received a handful of surprises in one of their kettles that will provide a welcome boost. Three commemorative liberty silver dollars were deposited into the kettle by an unknown donor.
Woodard explained the price of silver right now is $33 per ounce. The Army hopes to raise at least $100 off the coins through that auction.
“This will greatly help our efforts, especially with the price of silver,” Woodard said in an email.
Woodard said that the auction would most likely take place early in the next year. Several other items of interest that have found their way into the red kettles will also be auctioned off.
The Goshen Corps also saw a slow start to their campaign, pulling in about 32 percent of their $50,000 goal in the first two weeks of the program.
“We’re still behind where we were last year,” said Goshen Major Allen Hanton, echoing Woodard and the Elkhart Army’s situation.
Hanton said they are specifically about $2,500 behind last year, and that their goal of $50,000 is also an increase from last year.
Despite the slow starts, both organizations remain hopeful that giving will increase and that they will reach their goals by the time the campaigns finish up on Christmas Eve.
“The volunteerism is really going to be picking up in the next couple weeks,” Hanton said, adding that some groups that usually do very well will be ringing the bell in the coming weeks.
That being said, the Elkhart and Goshen Armies are always willing to take on more volunteers to man the kettle posts.
Individuals or groups who wish to volunteer can call the Elkhart Army at 970-0088 or the Goshen Corps at 533-9584.