Archived Story

Red Kettles bring in $121K [UPDATED]

Published 11:37am Tuesday, January 14, 2014 Updated 1:38pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014

To Fergus Falls Salvation Army Lt. Linda McCormick’s knowledge, this has never happened before.

The grand total for the Red Kettle Campaign over the 2013 holiday season rang in at $121,330, surpassing the goal of $85,000. The bell-ringing campaign went from Nov. 15 until about noon Christmas Eve.

“I don’t know if Fergus has ever raised this much money,” McCormick said.

There were a couple of factors that pushed the donations more than $35,000 past the goal.

An anonymous $10,000 donation showed up in the kettles, a repeat performance from last year.

“We weren’t expecting that this year,” McCormick said.

Then there was a $25,000 match donation from Dec. 20-21, which was part of a $2 million anonymous donation project throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. All donations during those two days were doubled, with the intent to help boost campaigns, as many were lacking. Fergus Falls had only reached about 50 percent of its goal before this donation weekend.

“People just came out that Friday and Saturday, just like gangbusters,” McCormick said, calling that match weekend “awesome and humbling to witness.” “It was the fact that people knew their money was going to go twice as far.”

With the chunk of change from the Red Kettle Campaign, the Salvation Army can put a little more toward its social services department, something that is always needed, McCormick said. Before the match donation and final tallies were in, she was concerned she might have to cut some of that budget. Not now.

“It gives us a little bit of breathing room,” she said, while also keeping in mind her duty to be fiscally responsible and how the money is spent.

The money will help families in Otter Tail County cover expenses like rent, heating bills, gas vouchers and electric bills.

“Those kinds of basic necessities that are needed,” McCormick said.

Donations will also go toward the after-school program, which has 30 kids involved, as well as the daily lunch program at the Salvation Army.

McCormick had plenty of praise for the community members and their donations during this season’s Red Kettle Campaign.

“No. 1, I think it shows that they love the Army, and they understand that placing their money in our care means that it will do the most good in Otter Tail County,” she said. “We couldn’t ask for a better community, honestly. To live in, work in. The support we have here is incredible.”

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