A big drop in the bucket for Salvation Army

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KSTP reports the Salvation Army is celebrating some welcome news. So-called "St. Grand" made a much-needed appearance at the Roseville Byerly's Friday, stuffing 10 $100 bills in a red kettle there.

The anonymous samaritan or samaritans made 22 similar donations in 2011 and 2012, but this was his or her first this year.

"It really doesn't matter if this is one person or multiple people," said Major Jeff Stricker, Twin Cities Salvation Army Commander. "It has become legendary for us -- an example of selfless giving without recognition."

The Salvation Army needed some good news this year.

KARE 11 reported that donations plunged 25 percent after getting off to a good start.

As of Wednesday the red kettles had collected nearly $700,000 since this year's November 9 debut, but The Salvation Army had hoped to have already broken the $1 million mark.

"We are now $227,000 below where we were last year at this time," said Salvation Army Major Jeff Strickler.

Reports from around the country echo the local drop in donations, and say Black Friday did not do much to help. That's because it was more of a Gray Friday, with shoppers coming through in waves instead of the usual surge.

The Salvation Army is also in the news because of protests Friday at its downtown Minneapolis thrift store. The Star Tribune reports protesters say rigid new leadership of its rehabilitation center has caused dozens of men and several employees to leave the program.

In July, shortly after Capt. Dennis Earnhardt’s arrival, the state Department of Human Rights filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of “numerous former employees” of the Adult Rehabilitation Center who had been fired for wearing dreadlocks, cornrows and other African-American hairstyles.

The Salvation Army has also been mired in controversy over its stance on homosexuality, according to the Huffington Post. Critics say it believes gay and lesbian people can be rehabilitated through personal ministry.

The Salvation Army says 20 percent of its clients are members of the LGBT community and, while it believes in scriptural codes of morality, it does not discriminate against gays and lesbians.

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