Thousands More Desperate For Help; Western Pa Salvation Army Red Kettles Down; Holiday Mail Appeal Crashes

Dec 03, 2010, 11:02 ET from The Salvation Army

CARNEGIE, Pa., Dec. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With an overall spike in needy families hovering around 25%, The Salvation Army's 28 county Western Pennsylvania Division is in a serious state.  In nearly half of its 39 Worship and Service Centers, Red Kettle Campaign dollars are behind 2009 figures.  In Braddock and Chartiers Valley/Carnegie, the deficits are each more than $17,000.  Even more disturbing is that The Salvation Army's holiday mail appeal is down by more than $330,000.

"Kettles are critical, but mail appeal is our lifeblood all year long.  This is a tremendous loss and it is going to hit hard," said Major Robert Reel, the organization's Western Pennsylvania Divisional Commander.  In The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Division, the red kettle goal is over 2.5 million dollars.  In Allegheny County the bar is set at more than $800,000.  Reel continued, "The increase in social service support is astounding.  In the past year, we have served nearly 25,000 new clients.  And it is important to note that we are comparing increases that have grown exponentially over the past three years.  It is a challenge keeping pace with the need."

"We know that everyone is having some sort of financial struggle, but if each person gives a little, we can conquer this incredible challenge."  Major Reel stated, "I humbly ask the public to send in their check, drop in a coin, logon to the Internet or text a gift.  No matter the method, it all goes to the same place. "

Donors may give online by logging onto  For the first time ever, The Salvation Army will allow donors to support the national Red Kettle Campaign directly through their mobile phone.  Contributors can text the word "GIVE" to 85944 to make a $10 donation to support the campaign. The gift will appear as a charge on the donor's next mobile phone bill.  The Salvation Army also offers a free update for the iPhone virtual "Bellringer" application.

The update includes new video content and also enables donations to The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign via text message.  This free app enables friends and supporters of The Salvation Army to share in the tradition of being a Salvation Army bellringer by ringing a virtual bell right on their phone.

Volunteers are still desperately needed. For more information in either volunteering at a kettle or providing a site, contact your local Salvation Army.  If you are in Allegheny County, contact Jocelyn Karsesnick at 412-446-1532. Families are encouraged to volunteer at a kettle

Both a church and a social service organization, The Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865. Today, it provides critical services in 120 countries worldwide.  The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services. To learn more about The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, log onto  The Salvation Army … Doing the most good . . . for the most people . . . in the most need.

SOURCE The Salvation Army