PLATTSBURGH - The Salvation Army of Plattsburgh kicked off its annual Red Kettle Campaign during a press conference at Champlain Centre Nov. 12.
Capt. Laurence Goodman, director of the local Salvation Army chapter, said bellringers will now be out in force throughout the region accepting donations towards the Christian-based nonprofit organization. The donations received will help further the Salvation Army's work locally of offering outreach services in Clinton and Essex counties which include emergency housing, clothing, food, prescriptions and fuel. The funding will also help offer educational, recreational and spiritual programs for young children and teenagers.
Goodman said taking into account the recent announcement by pharmaceutical manufacture Pfizer Inc. to close it facilities in Clinton County by mid-2011, in addition to an already uncertain national economy, the need is greater than ever. However, he added he's optimistic if people fall on hard times, the Salvation Army will be there to help.
"Last year, we had a roughly 22 percent increase in requests for services," said Goodman. "We met the request and that's solely because of our kettle campaigns and generous donations."
Goodman said he feels the organization is already off to a good start following the receipt of a grant from Target this summer. The grant provided $30,000 to the local Salvation Army chapter to assist with its services - the cost of which would otherwise have been drawn from the organization's coffers.
However, the organization has already lost one of its kettle sites with the anticipated closure of the Bourgeois IGA in Keeseville.
"When we lose a kettle site, that can translate into thousands of dollars," said Goodman.
Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett said when taking into account any negative factors in the local economy it shows the need for people to contribute to charities like the Salvation Army is even greater.