The Twin Cities branch of the Salvation Army has just eight days to raise over four million dollars.
The charity has a holiday-season fundraising goal of $11.6 million, and according to a news release, it's reached more than eight million. With the season ending on New Year's Eve, the Army is in danger of falling short of its holiday goals for the third year in a row.
While the millions they've already taken in are certainly nothing to sneeze at and seems like a lot of money, failing to meet fundraising projections has lasting effects on the organization. For instance, after they missed their $11.5 million goal last year, they were forced to limit key services.
"We had to restrict our food shelf budgets and put caps on programs like our Toy Shop, by serving fewer families," Twin Cities commander Major Jeff Strickler said in the release. "With an even more ambitious goal this year, these final days of fundraising are critical for us."
And with the Army's iconic red kettles (which are often accompanied by volunteer bell-ringers outside of grocery stores and the like) soon to vanish for the year, making up the gap may be even more difficult. The kettles are all collected on Christmas Eve, but the organization still takes donations through mail, online, and on the phone, it says.
The fundraising problem isn't for a lack of generosity, though. Last month, the Army saw its largest-ever donation in the metro – $500,000 – from a couple in Rosemount. They remained anonymous, but said the organization had helped them in the past and they wanted to give back.
Also, a mysterious donor known only as "Saint Grand" dropped more than $1,000 in crisp $100 bills into two kettles in Roseville. It’s the fifth year in a row the "saint" has contributed large amounts of cash to the charity's fundraising effort.
The Twin Cities Salvation Army says it's one of the "largest providers of Christmas toys in the metro area," shelters almost 900 people nightly, and feeds 102,000 a year.