Salvation Army exceeds red kettle goal, raises more than $53K
The Salvation Army in Willmar exceeded the goal for its 2008 Christmas kettle fundraising campaign by more than $4,000. Randy Stahl said the public threw $53,775.43 into the traditional red kettles, improving on the goal of $49,200. Stahl is co-a...
The Salvation Army in Willmar exceeded the goal for its 2008 Christmas kettle fundraising campaign by more than $4,000.
Randy Stahl said the public threw $53,775.43 into the traditional red kettles, improving on the goal of $49,200. Stahl is co-administrator with his wife, Debbie Stahl, at the Willmar Salvation Army office.
"It's huge," Stahl said. "The Willmar community is awesome. ... I want to thank all the people."
News reports about a wounded economy made him worry about the red kettle campaign, which helps fund programs through the year, he added.
But he thinks those same news reports made people dig deeper this year, "knowing somebody else was going to be hurt," he said.
The money added up, but it did not come in steadily, Stahl said. He admitted to being a little worried sometimes. An extremely cold day might net $250, but on other days, the kettles might be overflowing with more than $3,000.
"I can't say it enough -- the community blessed us," he said.
An added bonus for the fund drive was the use of all volunteer bell ringers at the kettles. In recent years, The Salvation Army has hired people to staff the red kettles in the past, but no one was paid this year.
Board members told him they had used nothing but volunteers to watch over kettles in the past, so he decided to give it a try, Stahl said.
"I put my faith in God and in the community, and it paid off," Stahl said. "It was wonderful; they not only gave of their time and talent, but they gave of their funds, too."
He told volunteers: "If you give me two hours of your time, I guarantee you'll give me two more, because it's so much fun."
Willmar was one of only three Salvation Army corps in Minnesota and North Dakota to exceed its fundraising goal, Stahl said.
Demand for Salvation Army services has been increasing, so the additional money will be put to good use, Stahl said.
More than 1,000 children received Christmas gifts from The Salvation Army in December.
Thanksgiving food baskets numbered 308, up from 228 the year before. Christmas food baskets were provided for 490 families, an increase of 80 families over the previous year.