WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP — It’s been about a month since we told you about the shortage of Salvation Army Red Kettle Volunteers in Wilkes-Barre. With the campaign now more than halfway over, the Wilkes-Barre Salvation Army still needs volunteers and donations.
For the Michael family, ringing these red kettle bells is more than just a way to raise money. These sisters are volunteering for the Salvation Army to honor their father, who passed away last week.
“I think he really liked to know that he was helping people on Christmas that maybe didn’t have the means to have everything that everybody has,” said Janna Michael, of Wilkes-Barre.
Francis “Yogi” Michael was a bell ringer for years, but in the Wilkes-Barre area, those bell ringers are now few and far between. Salvation Army Lieutenant Ted Tressler says there are currently only 11 bell ringers for 23 locations in the Wilkes-Barre area, and a volunteer shortage inevitably leads to a donation shortage.
“If we were to put a kettle stand up with no one there, first it`s not securing someone`s donation, but people tend to just not give,” said Lt. Tressler.
The Wilkes-Barre Salvation Army is down $35,000 in donations from this time last year. People we spoke with say there aren’t enough people ringing bells not because they don`t want to, but because they don`t have the time to volunteer.
“I know a lot of people probably would like to volunteer but in some cases, their lives are so busy with work. Things aren’t the same as they used to be,” said Mary Arritt, of Weatherly.
If the Salvation Army doesn’t meet its goal, the organization faces program cuts in 2013, and that’s something that volunteers say the Wyoming Valley can’t afford.