Salvation Army Capt. Paul James lifts his son to drop a coin into a kettle at Eastland Mall. (Photo By Paul Morello/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - The Salvation Army is hoping to raise $430,000 during this year's "Make a Difference" fundraiser.
The campaign kicked off Thursday afternoon outside JC Penny at Eastland Mall. Donations are expected to help about 5,500 families in Bloomington-Normal.
"Some of the programs that we do that serve the community are the shelter, rent and utility assistance, food pantries that we have throughout the year, as well as a Christmas basket that we put together," said Capt. Paul James.
The Salvation Army wants to raise $220,000 through the kettle campaign and $210,000 from the mail campaign.
Last year's goal was $425,000, but $445,000 was raised.
According to James, the money will go to getting Christmas gifts and food to 1,400 families, it will help shelter over 500 homeless people, and will help fund about 41,600 meals.
"There's always more need," James said. "Whether it's the cost of running the shelter, or the different programs we have or whether we're having to buy more food."
The kettle campaign starts Friday and continues Monday through Saturday until Dec. 24.
To sign up for a bell ringing shift, go to ringbells.org.
Paul Morello can be reached at email@example.com.