Salvation Army’s Red Kettle donations down

Published 9:55 am Thursday, January 5, 2017

The numbers are in, and the annual Red Kettle drive by the Salvation Army did not raise as much money as previous years.

As of Wednesday, the total count for donations in Vicksburg, including a matching donation, auxiliary and advisory board fundraisers and kettle donations was at $61,500, which was down from last year’s recorded $97,977.96 total at year-end.

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“There are some obvious anomalies from last year,” Maj. Steve Welch said.

Welch said he thought previous Vicksburg leader CapT. Srikant Bhatnagar might have tallied the donation totals in a different way than he did, but he hasn’t had time to really look at how donations were added in the past to know how the two totals actually stack up.

“We’re not comparing apples to apples. The way the information was input last year is different from the way we did it this year apparently,” Welch said. “It’ll be awhile before the new bookkeeper has the knowledge to be able to give me the reports I need to really compare.”

Welch said 425 volunteers spent 492 hours manning the Red Kettles. The volunteers raised $21,272.16 while at the kettle, he said, and as of now, counter kettles have raised $563.75. Welch said he still has to calculate a few counter kettles that were not turned in until after Christmas.

“I think we had more volunteers this year, but, again, I haven’t checked,” he said.

Even though the Red Kettle campaign is the main fundraiser for the Salvation Army each year, Welch said donations are always accepted. Donations can be dropped off at the office, 530 Mission 66; mailed to P.O. Box 1166, Vicksburg, MS 39182; given online at; or by texting “Vicksburg” to 71777.

“People have needs year-round so we’re still meeting needs, and we still need help,” Welch said.

Some ways the Salvation Army meets those needs, in addition to the Christmas programs, is through its food pantry, a backpack giveaway and by helping people with necessities through emergency situations and disasters.

Welch said one of his focuses is opening up the organization’s store more than twice a month.

He wants it open on a more regular basis, possibly for six days a week with two part-time employees, and he plans on putting the changes in place soon.