PLATTSBURGH - The Salvation Army of Plattsburgh is anticipating a critical shortage in funds for 2010 if the fundraising during the Red Kettle Campaign doesn't improve.
"We are already $10,000 behind last year at this time," reported Capt. Laurence Goodman, director of the local Salvation Army chapter. "With the loss of IGA Supermarket in Keeseville as a kettle site and reduced days at other locations, it's getting more difficult to make up the loss. Every day, we are getting farther behind."
Goodman added the nonprofit organization is in desperate need of help from "our North Country neighbors to ensure that we can continue to assist families and individuals who are struggling." The Red Kettle Campaign is the most important fundraiser of the year for The Salvation Army, he said.
"This is a true emergency. The kettles are very, very slow," said Goodman. "At the same time, more people are knocking at our door requesting assistance."
Since 2007, The Salvation Army has increased direct services locally by 33 percent, Goodman noted. Most recently, a Thanksgiving dinner for the underprivileged hosted by the chapter at the Plattsburgh Elks Lodge, served 350 people.
"If we don't reach our goal during this fundraiser, we'll feel the impact throughout all of 2010," said Goodman.
While the tough economy and the loss of kettle sites are certainly part of the reason for the drop in kettles, Goodman said the fact the region hasn't been seeing more winter-like conditions until recently has had an effect.
"The Christmas spirit is not as prevalent yet," he said.
There are several ways the community can help, Goodman said. Bellringers are needed with those interested in volunteering asked to call 561-2951 or 1-877-764-7259 or by going on-line to www.redkettles.org.
Tax-deductible donations may also be made on-line or by mail to the chapter at 4804 S. Catherine St., P.O. Box 368, Plattsburgh N.Y. 12901-0368.