The red Salvation Army kettles and bell ringers can be found in front of more than 100 Houston area retailers. Holiday contributions are brisk; but the organization is already ten percent behind in seasonal donations from this time last year. Major John R. Jones is the Houston Metropolitan Commander and says the drop is in direct mail appeals.
Salvation Army policy dictates any donations designated for a specific need cannot be redirected elsewhere. So all the money given for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has to be used for those recovery efforts. Jones says that money does not support the ongoing services of the organization.
Jones says if the trend of dwindling donations continues, a worst-case scenario could leave them between $180,000 and $210,000 short of their fundraising goals. Jones says there is naturally donor fatigue after a disaster and this year has been especially tough for relief organizations.