The bell-ringing has been over for weeks, but the Salvation Army of the Quad-Cities still needs about $175,000 to meet its 2017 Red Kettle Campaign goal of $825,000.
So far, $650,000 has been raised through donations and the direct-mail and year-end contributions that go to the kettle campaign, Major Scott Shelbourn said. But there is still time to reach the goal, as donations are being counted through Jan. 31, he said.
The Salvation Army gets about 60 percent of its operating budget from the Red Kettle Campaign, providing housing, daily meals, rental assistance, clothing and youth programs in the Quad-Cities. In addition, it provided specific Christmas assistance of food to 799 families and toys to 743 families in 2017, Shelbourn said.
As for why donations might have been down, Shelbourn said he "wouldn't say it was one specific thing, but a culmination of factors."
NorthPark and SouthPark malls decided against partnering with the Red Kettle campaign this year and "that obviously affected things," he said. "That exposure would have been helpful."
The Times previously reported that the malls' management made its decision "due to a history of lack of proper staffing."
Another factor was that Christmas Eve typically brings in about $20,000, but because it fell on a Sunday this year and the Salvation Army does not collect on Sundays, that opportunity was missed, Shelbourn said.
Finally, Quad-Citians had been very generous in giving to relief efforts for Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, "and people have limited dollars," he said.
"People here are so generous," Shelbourn said. "They make a big difference in people's lives."
A look back over the past nine years shows four years of meeting/exceeding the red kettle goals and five years of not meeting.
Here are the figures back to 2008:
2016, goal was $815,000, raised was $749,315
2015, goal was $815,000, raised was $792,126
2014, goal was $760,000, raised was $794,692
2013, goal was $750,000, raised was $752,561
2012, goal was $725,000, raised was $740,622
2011, goal was $700,000, raised was $717,625
2010, goal was $700,000, raised was $643,843
2009, goal was $605,000, raised was $631,447
2008, goal was $580,000, raised was $553,475
The Red Kettle campaign was started by a captain in San Francisco in 1891 and has grown to one of the most-recognized charitable outreach efforts in the country.