• Local charity struggling to reach $2 million goal in donations


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The Salvation Army has a goal of reaching $2 million in donations this year, but right now they have a long way to go with just two days left.

    Channel 2's Craig Lucie went to Sam's Club in DeKalb County to find out why the organization is tens of thousands of dollars short of reaching its goal.

    Officials say there are a few reasons why collections are down; one is the weather, and another is because the organization has a shorter amount of days compared to last year to collect donations.

    The Salvation Army Red Kettle drive is a tradition that was born in 1891.

    "Over 130 years the Salvation Army has been doing this red kettle drive. It started in San Francisco and it started as a means to feed people on the west coast many years go," said Hawks.

    People stop and drop money into the kettle to give this time of year.

    "I think the Salvation Army is a wonderful organization. It's very Christian and I would do anything I can to help them out," said Ann Gillespie.

    "I think it's a great tradition because at some point we could all be needy," said Leanne Lankford.

    This year, it's been tough for the bell ringers trying to reach the $2 million goal for the metro Atlanta Salvation Army.

    "Through last Friday we were $550,000 down with three days to go. It's been a challenging season; fewer days on the calendar," said Hawks.

    A lot of that money has already been spent.

    "We just served over 11,500 children but (the money) also goes to help programs throughout the year; things like homelessness programs feed and give shelter for folks who are homeless," said Hawks.

    And sometimes it's not always loose change and dollar bills that people drop into the red kettle.

    "We have received gold coins, diamond rings. We have received that anonymous gold coin this year as of yet, but we still have a couple of days to go, so hopefully the anonymous gold coin will show up," said Hawks.

    One gold coin is worth more than $300.

    The Salvation Army is optimistic it may still be able to reach their goal, especially when people share the same giving spirit that Lankford has.

    "Giving always makes me feel good. That's all I can tell you," Lankford said.

    Just in one week last year the organization raised more than $262,000. Now that's money lost so they say any amount that you can give is greatly appreciated.

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