Salvation Army reports donation increase

FNM file photo David Garza of Clovis been a bell ringer for the last five years and said he enjoys doing it and helping people. The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive raised $15,000 more than last year.

Liliana Castillo

The Salvation Army wrapped up 2010 Christmas projects with its most successful campaign in the last five years.

Between Red Kettles and the Empty Stocking Funds, $52,034 was raised this year.

The second most successful year was in 2007 when the organization raised $46,501.

Maj. Jim Gallop, who came to Clovis from Las Vegas, Nev., in July, said he has been impressed with the community response.

“They made it come to life, you know,” he said.

Gallop said the Angel Tree Ministry helped 722 children from 263 families who asked for assistance. The non-profit also distributed food to 350 senior citizens.

Donations in Red Kettles were up about $15,000 this year and Empty Stocking Funds increased by about $800.

“We’re pleased that everything’s up,” he said.

Gallop said a big jump such as $15,000 in Red Kettle collections doesn’t happen by accident. Gallop said the Salvation Army got approval to collect in front of two more big stores, Hobby Lobby and Big Lots, this year. Gallop said the exposure always helps.

Gallops also said outgoing and pleasant bell ringers helped also.

“Some of our bell ringers were excellent. They’re really extroverted and very nice and respectful saying ‘hi’ and ‘Merry Christmas.’ Those kinds of things prompt people to be more giving,” Gallop said.

Gallop said several community clubs and churches, such as the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs and the Vine Community Church, helped by providing volunteers. Gallop said the Salvation Army saved $56 a day by having a volunteer bell ringer instead of paying one.

“The Red Kettles are always hard work but the bottom line is it pays off if you work hard on it,” Gallop said.

Empty Stocking Fund donations totaled $9,840 this year and the Salvation Army’s signature Red Kettles raised $42,194.

Gallop said in November the Salvation Army hoped to raise $25,000 to help 100 more families applying for help this holiday season.

Gallop said though Clovis has been fortunate to avoid any major industry strife, families are still feeling the effects of the economy and facing hardships.

Donations will be accepted through the end of the year, he said.

For information or to donate to a Salvation Army Christmas project, call Jim Gallop at 762-3801 or visit 317 E. Second St.