Ohio Valley Donations Slow as Salvation Army Enters Final Campaign Day

Photo by Janice Kiaski Capt. Dolly Griffin, right, of the Salvation Army of Steubenville and volunteer Myra Owens, background, help Kim Creech of Steubenville get Christmas presents wrapped and bows selected Thursday afternoon at the Salvation Army’s gift wrap station at the Fort Steuben Mall.

The Salvation Army of Steubenville is wrapping up its 2016 kettle campaign, but there’s a four-figure problem.

Mother Nature has not been kind, and that, combined with shoppers having different buying habits, are what Capt. Steve Griffin believes are contributing factors to the fundraising effort falling short so far of its goal to raise $47,000.

“We’re currently behind about $3,500,” said Griffin, who serves as commanding officer along with his wife, Capt. Dolly Griffin.

The campaign that kicked off Nov. 4 at various locations ends at 5 p.m. today, Griffin said.

Bell-ringing volunteers are stationed at Riesbeck’s in Wintersville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today; at Rural King in Steubenville from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today; at the Wintersville and Steubenville Kroger locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today; and at the Steubenville Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

“The bulk of it has been weather-related,” Griffin said of why collections are down. Hard rain one day, for example, and extreme cold another resulted in not having volunteers stationed at the kettles — conditions that affected foot traffic as well.

“We’re not going to make them stay out in bad weather,” Griffin said of the Salvation Army’s volunteers.

The way people shop has an impact, too, according to Griffin, with many consumers now buying online, reducing foot traffic. Those who are out shopping often don’t carry cash because they use debit or credit cards instead — not ideal for kettle contributions.

“What I’m hearing from other Salvation Army posts is giving is down across the board, Griffin said.

But all is not lost.

“We’re not without hope,” he said. “We still have time to make it up, but we need the community to make a donation to the kettles. Any amount helps. The coins really add up.”

Those not able to donate at a kettle site are welcome to make a contribution another way– by making a check payable to the Salvation Army and mailing it to P.O. Box 1226, Steubenville, OH 43952.

Another source of donations has been the Salvation Army’s gift-wrapping station at the Fort Steuben Mall. The station, the final day for which was Friday, offered shoppers the opportunity to have their presents wrapped on the spot.

Griffin said it’s important to reach the $47,000 mark because it constitutes “a huge part of our annual budget” and helps with Christmas outreaches, the food pantry and the New Year’s Day dinner, a free community meal at the headquarters located at 320 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 1.


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