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Only a few days left in Bloomington Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign

Salvation Army red kettles
Kristen Wyatt

There are just four days left to heed the bells and drop some cash into the Salvation Army’s iconic red kettles.

Director of Development Angie Bubon said as of Monday, the annual campaign had raised about $136,000 for the Bloomington Salvation Army. Combined with other sources like mail and online donations, the organization has raised $376,000 toward its $515,000 goal.

“There’s not a ton of time left and still a ways to go, but we’re hopeful we’ll still achieve that,” Bubon said.

Giving levels are lagging a bit compared to this time last year, said Bubon, who thinks charitable donations may have been top of mind for many people last year amid the very visible ravages of the pandemic.

“I think everyone saw how much work we were doing to support those affected by the pandemic and really wanted to support us,” Bubon said.

But as the pandemic wears on and case numbers surge yet again, Bubon said the kettle campaign isn't performing as well as they have in years past. She thinks given the numbers, people may be sticking closer to home rather than venturing out for holiday shopping.

“I could just imagine that’s playing a factor in those numbers,” she said.

But as case numbers rise, so does the need for help. Bubon said the Salvation Army has seen a rise in the number of people accessing its emergency financial assistance program that provides one-time help for people struggling to make payments.

“As evictions started back up, and utility shut-offs started back up, people had fallen behind. And so we’ve gotten a lot of phone calls for that program,” Bubon said.

The organization also has seen an uptick in the number of seniors visiting its food pantry. Bubon said it’s not yet clear how the increase correlates to the pandemic, but it’s a situation that the Salvation Army continues to monitor.

Sarah Nardi is a correspondent at WGLT. She rejoined the station in 2024.