Bay Ridge

Salvation Army red kettle donation drive falling short

Bay Ridge corps officer says total is 31% behind 2013 campaign

December 12, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lieutenants Kathleen and Joel Ashcraft, corps officers of The Salvation Army in Bay Ridge, are hoping to see an increase in donations to the sidewalk red kettles. Photo courtesy Joel Ashcraft
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The Salvation Amy in Bay Ridge, which has helped thousands of people get back on their feet over the years, is asking for help itself these days.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, The Salvation Army’s famous holiday season red kettle donation drive is in danger of falling far below last year’s results, according to Lt. Joel Ashcraft, corps officer for Bay Ridge.

“So far, we haven’t had the response that we had hoped for. And we’re running out of time,” Ashcraft told the Brooklyn Eagle.

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The red kettle donation drive is a Christmas season tradition for The Salvation Army. The army dispatches people to stand on sidewalks, usually in shopping areas like 86th Street, and display donation kettles, ring bells and accept monetary donations from pedestrians. A Salvation Army red kettle has been stationed outside the Century 21 department store at 472 86th St. each Christmas season for many years.

The Bay Ridge office has set a fundraising goal of $29,000 this Christmas season. But so far this season, donations are lagging 31 percent behind last year’s total, Ashcraft said.

The kettle campaign runs Tuesday through Saturday, generally from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The campaign will end on Christmas Eve.

Ashcraft said the reason for the lower amount of donations is unclear — but he has a theory. “Well, the weather has been so strange this year. We’ve had days where it was raining heavily. That keeps people from going out shopping,” he told the Eagle.

The red kettle campaign is an important component of the organization’s operations, according to Ashcraft, who said the donations help to support The Salvation Army’s programs throughout the year.

The Salvation Army runs an emergency food pantry and provides clothing, back to school supplies, rental assistance, utility assistance, gifts during the holidays and other programs for the less fortunate in Bay Ridge. The organization also sponsors afterschool programs, music lessons, after-school tutoring, summer camping programs and programs for senior citizens.

“We’re grateful to those who have supported this year’s campaign so far. Our donors have been very faithful to us for many years, and I’m confident they’ll come through again when word gets out that the kettle contributions are trailing behind last year,” Ashcraft said.

Those not able to support the campaign at a kettle location can make a donation to a “virtual” kettle online at

Donations can also be made by sending a check to: The Salvation Army at 252 86th St. Brooklyn, N.Y., 11209.

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been helping people in need since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through an array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, and clothing and shelter to the homeless. Ashcraft said on the national level, about 82 cents of every dollar raised is used to support The Salvation Army’s services.


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