People may have only put one coin or dollar bill at a time into a Salvation Army red kettle during the holiday season, but each time counted as they amounted to more than $128,000, allowing the Salvation Army to surpass its 2012 fundraising goal.
Bob Quam, director of operations at the Salvation Army of Stevens Point, said approximately $128,700 was collected during the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, which began Friday, Nov. 9, and ended Monday, Dec. 24. This year’s campaign goal was $125,000, which was an increase from last year’s goal of $107,000.
“It makes us feel good we were able to meet the goal,” said Quam. “We were blessed to be able to do so.”
Quam thanked all the people who volunteered to ring bells at a number of red kettle locations in Stevens Point and Plover, all those who contributed money to those red kettles, and Salvation Army Board members and volunteers who worked behind the scenes to help the organization meet its goal, including Craig Shuler, Board chair, and Brant Bergeron, who helped with publicity.
He said the fundraising campaign is an integral part of the Salvation Army’s budget, as the funds collected during it support approximately one-third of its operations for the year. These operations include the Hope Center, located at 1600 Briggs St., Stevens Point. The Hope Center provides shelter and meals for homeless people in Portage County.
Quam said the Hope Center has been busy since it was remodeled to make the kitchen and dining area bigger in 2009. “As this economy has gotten harder, we’ve had to change our role here,” he said, noting this has included serving nearly double the amount of meals it served before the remodel.
Hope Center plans in 2013 include a reconfiguration in the front office to make operations more efficient and the implementation of a long-range supportive housing program beginning Jan. 1.
This program is designed to help families secure their own housing by providing rent support for up to a year. The Salvation Army would arrange housing with a landlord, and it would pay up to 75 percent of the rent in the first few months, gradually shifting more of it to the clients as they are able to better help pay for it. It will start by helping one family in the beginning portion of the year, with a second family being helped mid-year.
Long-range plans that Quam said will not likely take place in the next year include adding a play area and a computer lab. “It’s difficult for children staying here because there’s no area for them,” he said.
In addition to the Hope Center, The Salvation Army also offers drug and alcohol counseling, and assistance to help people find employment.
The Salvation Army is one of 34 partner programs that receives funding from the United Way of Portage County, which completed its own successful fundraising campaign earlier this month.
The first Red Kettle Campaign began in 1894 in San Francisco, Calif., and now is held in communities throughout the world.