Donations to Wyoming’s Salvation Army kettles have declined this year, due in part to this year’s calendar, according to officials with the charity.
Officials said with Thanksgiving and Black Friday coming late in the year, people had less time to donate than usual. In addition, a blizzard in eastern Wyoming slowed traffic past kettles posted at different locations.
In Gillette, Salvation Army Director Jenny Hartung said donations have declined by about $6,700 from 2018. She attributed part of the decline to the closure of Gillette’s Kmart.
In Cheyenne, donations are down about $22,000, while in Casper, Penny Shoemake estimated the decline at $45,000.
Cheyenne Salvation Army Lt. Chad Lamb said the organization may not reach its goal for the year of $120,000, but added the group is still willing to accept any donations, including change.
“People always apologize for putting change in the kettle,” he said. “Never, ever apologize. We did over $10,000 in just change alone. You pull out a handful of change … throw that in there, because change makes a difference in Cheyenne.”
Kettles around the communities are staffed by both paid bell ringers and volunteers. Rick Flood, president of Cheyenne’s branch of the Platte Valley Bank, said 14 of his employees have been ringing bells for the Salvation Army.
“At this time of year, it is so reassuring and humbling to be reminded of the generosity and kindness of our community,” he said.
Flood and Lamb agreed that Cheyenne residents are generous with their Salvation Army donations.
“In our kettles, in our food donations, in our gift donations, in every respect that I’ve seen in Cheyenne, this is giving community,” Lamb said.