Salvation Army reaches goal

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Just six weeks ago, donations to those red kettles you see as you're Christmas shopping were at an all time low and the Salvation Army told us they were worried they wouldn't collect enough money to help area families. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, is the last day they'll be ringing their bell. So tonight, we wanted to check back in to see how they did this holiday season.

At the start of the holiday season, Salvation Army volunteers were concerned that they might not reach their $250,000 goal. But thanks to donations from people in the Richmond it'll be a very Merry Christmas for those in need.

The well known sound of the Salvation Army bell rings loudly in front of the Bear Pot in Henrico County. It's one of nearly 60 locations that helped the Salvation Army reach its goal this year, but the season didn't start that way.

"We were probably behind somewhere in the neighborhood of six to eight percent," said Salvation Army spokesman, Lou Mazzini.

The down economy was expected to have driven down donations, hurting the people who need help the most. Bear Pot owners, Victoria and Norman Gothier decided to run their own kettle in efforts of helping the charity bring in more money.

"We've actually had cars pull up, drop their money off and Merry Christmas," said Victoria.

And as the season progressed the money kept coming in and the Gothier's were more than excited to be a part of it.

"It's absolutely a privilege," said Victoria. "I have absolutely no emotion about it. It's our privilege. I'm so happy."

"It makes me feel very proud to work with the Salvation Army, actually every month," said Norman.

Reaching their goal came as a surprise. The Salvation Army had already made plans about how to operate with less money.

"We had to make some cuts, some labor force reductions, we had to sell some vehicles, we had to curtail some services," said Mazzini.

But thankfully the community stepped in just in time.

"Please accept our heartfelt gratitude and Merry Christmas!" said Mazzini.

And of course it's still not too late to donate. You can contribute money into these red kettles through tomorrow, Christmas Eve, and you can always donate online.

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