Rain Damages Northwest, Cascade Kettle Drives
Christmas kettle coordinators throughout the territory identify the shortened holiday period between Thanksgiving and Christmas as a contributing factor to projected lower season giving totals. Those in the nation’s northwest corner also add the weather to the mix.
Captain Dale Pittock, regional coordinator for the Mid-Willamette Valley and North Coast region of the Cascade Division, stated: “Rain and blustery winds are commonplace in the life of the Pacific Northwest. One reason for the green of Oregon is the rainfall that is so common, particularly during the winter months. However, rain during the bell-ringing season may have a significant effect on the lack of green in the kettles.
“Since the beginning of the season on November 25, we have had rain every day. Even those accustomed to the rain think that its presence has a negative effect on response to the kettles. The public wants to get in the stores and back into their cars as quickly as possible. This does not leave much time to linger at the kettle.
“As of December 9 throughout the region, our kettle collections are at 65 percent of last year’s level for that date. That fact, along with a season of 24 days compared to 31 days last year, make this year’s even more of a challenge.”
Not all areas suffer in the same way. Portland Tabernacle kettles are ahead of the 1995 total, even with one week less in the campaign, according to Major Tom Elliott (R). Portland also reports a milder weather season than last year, with rain falling mainly in the evenings.
Major David Bowler, Spokane city coordinator, spoke of the dramatic ice-storms experienced in eastern Washington which, along with the shortened campaign period, have resulted in a 20 percent decline in giving.
Giving in King County (Seattle), Wash., is down 24 percent over last year according to Lt. Colonel Evelyn Hunter, northwest divisional commander. She stated: “Every dime, every dollar counts. With five fewer days we depend on the public to help us make up the difference. Help and hope are vital to the spirit of the community.” Hunter also noted that toys given at “sharing trees” in various northwest malls are running 80 percent behind last year.
Adding insult to injury, Hunter added that a kettle was stolen from the Southcenter Mall one Saturday evening.
In northern California, the Del Oro Division has established a joint effort with several media outlets to stimulate giving food, toys and donations. The Redding, Red Bluff and Chico corps had live remotes on KRCR-TV, an ABC affiliate, for four hours on three successive evenings, which covered each of the locations. The station branded the activity highly successful and is looking forward to additional cooperation next year.
In addition, KCPM, an NBC affiliate, coordinated efforts between themselves, five radio stations and six corps including Chico, Redding, Yuba-Sutter, Red Bluff, Oroville and Paradise. The station emphasized the need for toys, and filled an entire studio with a highly successful effort. KCVU-TV, a Fox affiliate, coordinated several radio stations in assisting the Marine Toys for Tots drive and five corps.
Robert Gregg, territorial financial development director, observed that Army fund-raising faces greater challenge than the weather and reduced kettle-days. “The change in generations will impact fund-raising for every organization, The Salvation Army included. The younger generation requires more information and greater documented proof of the quality of programs that serve people before they will part with hard-earned cash,” Gregg said.