Bells are ringing once again, but the local branch of the Salvation Army is experiencing a drop in donations this year.
Salvation Army Administrator Alan Grimes said the organization’s yearly campaign started with a red kettle at Homeland Grocery in Ardmore, then expanded to Walmart in Ardmore the day after Thanksgiving. Grimes said the organization has fewer volunteers this year.
“We haven’t had employees filling the gap for the volunteers this year,” Grimes said. “We do hire bell ringers for seasonal employment, but we haven’t had the people.”
Grimes said at present, donations for the Carter County area are down about $15,000 from last year. Donations were down last year as well, bringing in $20,000 less than the year before. He said this year it’s been particularly difficult to find volunteers, as they’re usually volunteering in their limited free time.
“It’s just been difficult to fill the times,” Grimes said. “We’ll have maybe two people out there helping us for as long as they can.”
Grimes said he thinks last year’s decline was partially due to natural disasters that may have prompted people to donate elsewhere. Similarly, hurricanes and fires in 2016 may have effected donations the year before.
“We appreciate that (people donated), but it effects us at home,” Grimes said.
Money collected during the holidays contributes to Salvation Army programs, shelters, holiday assistance and food pantries in south central Oklahoma year round. Money collected in Ardmore goes to programs in Marshall, Murray and Love Counties as well as Carter County. Grimes said in previous years, they’ve stationed bell ringers in Madill and Sulphur, but they weren’t able to this year.
Robby Short, Managing Editor
PO Box 1328
Ardmore, OK 73401