JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – The year's major fundraiser for the Jackson County Salvation Army has not been a big money-maker this holiday season.
Since the organization launched its Red Kettle drive last month, bell ringers have been sounding the call hoping to encourage shoppers to drop money into the red kettles.
A lot of generous folks like Rodmen Jefferson did dig deep in their pockets to give.
"Everyone needs this time of the season," Jefferson said.
But for others, there's just no extra money to give. So far, $80,000 has been raised this year, and Director Lt. Jerry Williams said that's about 30 percent lower than last year.
"It was not a surprise, but the first thing I did is pray to God to see us through," Williams said.
He blames the lack donations on the weak economy. He said a lot of people are unemployed this year and they just can't give what they don't have in their wallets.
"I feel a little sadden, but I know the economy has hit hard for everybody and the Salvation Army is not exempt from that," Williams said.
Williams said the drop in donations will be felt all year. The kettles are only out around the holidays, but the money collected in the red buckets is supposed to fund Salvation Army programs year round.
"We see an average of 200 individuals every month needing assistance. We provide the family shelter, the woman and children's shelter, the men's shelter."
The Salvation Army said that demand is growing and hopes the donations will grow too.
"Every little change, every little dollar counts for something."
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle drive ends Thursday night, December 23rd. For anyone who wants to donate, the kettles are set up in Jackson County at Wal-Mart, Jerry Lee's and Wayne Lee's grocery stores. You can also bring donations to the Pascagoula office on Nathan Hale Avenue throughout the year.