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Recent Fundraising Campaigns Coming Up Short

From United Way to The Salvation Army, charitable giving is down for area fundraising campaigns.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A kettle full of dollar bills is a not-so-common sight this year for the Salvation Army. Bell ringers are scattered throughout the city, but the donations aren't coming in.

"It's nickles and dimes and quarters and pennies and dollars that get us through," said Capt. Dana Cook.

The Salvation Army's yearly campaign is at about one-third of where it was this time last year. Staff members say one problem for them is the compressed holiday season this year with Thanksgiving coming later.

"We can't get discouraged about our dollars being a little bit low," Capt. Cook said. "We have to keep putting our best foot forward, putting a smile on our face, getting out faces out there and the needs of our community. This community steps up to help its neighbors."

The Army's kettle campaign follows a United Way campaign that just wrapped up short of its goal by about $80,000.

Fundraising in the current economic climate is tough.

"The landscape is a little uneasy," said Sarah Hatten, campaign director for the United Way of Greater St. Joseph. "People are still nervous to be so generous that they don't have enough for themselves."

Fundraisers hope the downturn isn't a continuing trend, but they know they have to plan ahead.

"I think we're going to have to do some re-evaluating before the next campaign and really take a look at how much we're asking from people and how much they're able to give," Hatten said.

At the American Red Cross, they say giving to them isn't necessarily top-of-mind until there's some kind of disaster.

"Often times people give to the Red Cross when there is something compelling going on in the nation, in the community or in the world," said Angie Springs, executive director of the St. Joseph chapter. "Whether it's a fire down the street or the tropical storm in the Philippines."

But one thing the agencies know - they're all in it together. They ask you to find something you're passionate about and give.

"Whether it is adopting a family at Christmas time, giving to Salvation Army or giving to the American Red Cross to be there for that family that may lose their home on Christmas Day," Springs said.

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