Community Helps Reach Kettle Goal
City’s Salvation Army Unit Raises $163K
Posted: December 29, 2012
HARRISONBURG — Just when he feared the familiar Salvation Army-sponsored bell ringing wouldn’t bring in enough money to make this year’s goal, the community stepped up, said Capt. Duane Burleigh, head of the organization’s Harrisonburg chapter.
The local charitable group started its annual fund drive on Nov. 1, a week earlier than usual.
When Burleigh looked over the total collections on Dec. 21, the numbers were hovering around $16,000 short of the $150,000 goal.
But in three days, the community made up that difference and then some.
With one more kettle worth of change to count on Thursday, Burleigh estimated that the campaign raised $163,000.
“This community is just so giving and so caring about their neighbors. I just sat there and cried,” Burleigh said of discovering the last-minute windfall of donations.
Close to 400 bell ringers helped collect donations throughout the past two months.
Burleigh believed the campaign was struggling before Dec. 21 because of the economy.
“I’ve never lived in a community that’s as giving as this one is [but] I understand also that people are struggling,” he said. “We’ve had people that have been donors coming in looking for food, looking for services.”
Last year, area residents donated $157,000 to the campaign, about $3,000 more than the previous year and $17,000 more than the goal.
The goal was raised by $10,000 this year to help offset an increase in local need.
“I knew it was an ambitious goal,” Burleigh said. “I knew it would be very risky to set it so high.”
But the community continues to amaze him, he says, and local residents didn’t let him down this year.
Burleigh said he doesn’t know if the local Salvation Army chapter will raise the goal next holiday season.
The money collected during the red kettle campaign will go toward the organization’s food pantry and homeless shelter, as well as donations to help area families with gas and electric bills.
“This will enable us to help people throughout the year,” Burleigh said.
Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or firstname.lastname@example.org