It was nip and tuck for the Salvation Army of Northwest Ohio as the end of its annual Red Kettle campaign approached, but the charity announced Thursday that its collections for the 2010 holiday season amounted to $535,428, a sum that easily surpassed the $520,000 goal.
Capt. Steve Lopes, who coordinated the campaign, acknowledged he had been worried.
“For most of the campaign, we were running behind,” he said. “We had 60-some-odd locations where we had bell ringers. Many of these were not meeting their daily goals. There was concern that up until the last week we were not meeting our goal.”
He credited the The Andersons, Inc., and a Catholic group called the Sunday Friends of the Army with giving the fund-raising campaign the boost it needed.
The Andersons pledged a matching donation of up to $10,000 for collections at its stores the weekend of Dec. 10-12. The collections came in at $10,312, resulting in a $20,312 gain for the campaign.
The Sunday Friends of the Army raised $14,700 by dispatching students from Catholic high schools to be kettle ringers on Sundays, which were a day of worship and rest for the regular Salvation Army kettle ringers.
Volunteers rang bells and collected donations at stores throughout the area, including Walmart, Kroger, Kmart, Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, and Westfield Franklin Park.
Many of them were affiliated with a business, school, or church.
Altogether, the campaign attracted 847 volunteers who put in a total of 2,255 hours, Captain Lopes said.
The money raised will be used to assist people in the Salvation Army's service area of Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Henry, and Fulton counties. Captain Lopes said this help includes rent, food, and utility assistance and the downtown Toledo residential treatment program for men, many of whom are ex-convicts, in need of a place to live.
The 2009 kettle campaign raised $505,000.