WILKES-BARRE -- You may have noticed the people in red, ringing away outside grocery and department stores in your area. With the holiday season comes the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign. However, the campaign is off to a rough start.
The Salvation Army post in Wilkes-Barre came up $40,000 short of its goal for last year's Red Kettle Campaign. This year's campaign started about a week ago, and already, Salvation Army officials say it's short on donations and bell ringers. Now the Salvation Army is asking for your help.
It's a familiar sound this time of year as you walk into a grocery store. There's a little ringing in your ears. It's the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.
But Lieutenant Red Tressler with the Salvation Army in Wilkes-Barre says he's desperate for bell ringers.
"The key to the sucess of our kettle campaign is having folks stand at the kettle and ring the bell," said Wilkes-Barre Salvation Army Lt. Ted Tressler.
Like Mark Jacukowicz ringing outside this Schiel's Family Market on George Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.
"I do it more for the people, the people that need it, the less fortunate, and the kids. The kids are the main thing," said Mark Jacukowicz, a Salvation Army bell ringer from Kingston.
The Salvation Army says only six of 23 Red Kettle locations in Wilkes-Barre are manned right now. The shortage doesn't surprise Frank Mrozowski, who says he donates every year.
"A lot of people want to help but then they turn around, they don't have the time. You got to make time," said Frank Mrozowski, of Wilkes-Barre.
Fewer bell ringers means fewer red kettles and ultimately, fewer donations.
The Wilkes-Barre post says it's already $4000 short in donations compared to this time last year. But now, donating is easier than ever.
Aside from putting cash in the kettle or swiping your credit card at some locations, you can also download the Salvation Army app on your smartphone and scan the qr code. You can also text to donate.
"It's hard. The times are hard, but it's better to give than to receive," said Mrozowski.
"People smile, and i think they like to see us out here with the bell," said Jacukowicz.
This year, the Salvation Army in Wilkes-Barre lowered its Red Kettle fundraising goal from $168,000 to $135,000 so it can hopefully meet the goal.