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Niles Salvation Army in need after rough Red Kettle campaign

NILES, Mich. -- The season of giving has come to an end, but the Salvation Army in Niles desperately needs your help after one of the least successful Red Kettle campaigns in recent history.

“We were not expecting to be that far down from our Christmas goal,” said Lieutenant Joseph Hixenbaugh, with the Niles Salvation Army.

The bells were ringing through the Christmas season, but the Salvation Army’s signature Red Kettle campaign fell significantly short in Niles.

The goal was to raise $115,000.

But the bell ringers were only able to bring in $47,000, or 41-percent.

“We simply didn’t have enough volunteers through the Christmas season,” Hixenbaugh said. “We needed about 56 people taking a two to three hour shift each and every day to meet – just make our goal of $115,000. And of that we had probably about 15 to 20, and so we could only man a certain number of spots each day out of our 14 locations that we had our kettles at.”

Hixenbaugh and his wife, Kendra, moved to Niles and took over the Salvation Army on N. 15th Street last June.

They said the Red Kettle campaign matters because it provides 70-percent of the organization’s overall funding for the year.

Hixenbaugh said the less they get, the more they’ll have to trim down operations like the food pantry, a rental assistance program, and a lunch they serve three days a week.

“That $68,000 shortfall causes us to reevaluate our programs and see how we can slim back some of our programs if we don’t make our Christmas goal,” he said.

You can still donate to the Niles Salvation Army – or any other location – even though the Red Kettles aren’t out anymore.

To donate to the Niles location:

You can mail in cash or a check to the Niles Salvation Army at PO Box 996, Niles, MI 49120.

You can stop by the Niles location at 424 N. 15th Street to drop off a donation.

You can donate online at saniles.org.

We also checked in with the Salvation Army in South Bend and Elkhart. Both raised more than Niles this season, but they still didn’t meet their Christmas goal.

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