Red Kettle campaign comes up short

Envoy Frank Smith, left, with Sergeant/Major Jim Russell in front of their South Catherine Street church.

Envoy Frank Smith, left, with Sergeant/Major Jim Russell in front of their South Catherine Street church.

— It seemed like it was going to be a good year for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, right up until the final tally.

The campaign came up 12 percent short of its goal, and down the same amount from last year’s total, according to Salvation Army Envoy Frank Smith.

“The bottom line is, the dollar bill and the economy are going in one direction, and the need is going in the other direction. Our mission is to be right in the middle,” said Smith.

But, he says, the Salvation Army will be pressing ahead with their mission nonetheless. They are considering the idea of holding some sort of a fundraiser in July to make up for their short-fall, but have no specifics in place at this time.

“People don’t always realize that when they throw change into that kettle, that can really change people’s lives,” said Sergeant/Major Jim Russell. “Their change makes change in people’s lives.”

Locally the Salvation Army focuses on meeting basic needs such as food and clothing for people in need. They operate a soup kitchen three days a week at their South Catherine St. church. They feed on average between 85 and 125 people at their soup kitchen each of those days. They also operate a thrift store on Montcalm Ave., which provides them with clothing for people in need.

Smith says that although the Red Kettle campaign was less than they hoped for, they are still doing well with their mail appeal, and with people and businesses who just send them checks unsolicited.

Smith’s wife, Envoy Belinda Sue Smith, credits the volunteers, and the overall community spirit, for the continued success that the Salvation Army in Plattsburgh has had over the years.

“This is really a wonderful community,” she said. “You see people work together. I’ve never really seen another community like this.”

The Salvation Army’s mission, they say, will go on uninterrupted.

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