Salvation Army sets donation record despite shortened season
Salvation Army Donations
Canadian County $26,115.00
Cleveland County $96,601.00
Oklahoma County $442,648.00
Canadian County $28,727.00
Cleveland County $106,261.00
Oklahoma County $464,780.00
Canadian County $30,772.15
Cleveland County $155,195.07
Oklahoma County $459,881.00
Canadian County $32,000.00
Cleveland County $110,000.00
Canadian County $52,266.49
Cleveland County $164,967.51
Oklahoma County $434,483.00
Citizens of Cleveland County dropped a record amount of change into the Salvation Army’s red kettles during the 2012 Christmas season, according to a press release.
Bell-ringers and volunteers collected $164,967 between Nov. 23 and Dec. 24 in Cleveland County alone, about $50,000 more than the projected collection goal for 2012 and $10,000 more than was collected for the 2011 Christmas season. Oklahoma as a whole collected $651,717, almost $100,000 more than the goal and about $5,500 dollars more than last year, according to a press release.
The increase in funds was due largely to an increase in volunteers and kettle locations, Richard White, executive director of the Salvation Army in Oklahoma, said.
A record 6,400 Oklahomans donated 17,477 hours of their time to the Salvation Army this Christmas season. Almost three times as many people volunteered for almost twice as many hours as in 2011, according to a press release.
The numbers were a bit unexpected, White said, because collection for the season was limited to 38 days. Locations like Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby, which tend to generate the greatest donations, have a policy that the bell-ringers only can solicit donations after Thanksgiving. In the past, the stores in Norman and the surrounding areas have been willing to bend the rules and let collections start early, but for the 2012 season, the Salvation Army’s national directors made an agreement that laid down the law: no early ringing, White said.
Factoring in the days lost, Cleveland County stood to be about $30,000 short of last year’s collections. Instead, the Salvation Army ended up breaking the all-time record by focusing on recruitment and increasing the amount of time ringers were at their posts, White said.
“We went out earlier and stayed out later,” White said.
Donation totals were nudged higher by contributions collected in campus kettles, manned by 11 sororities and fraternities who collected a total of $2,900, according to a press release.
Beta Theta Pi was the Campus Champ fraternity for the season, raising $1,050. The Salvation Army presented the fraternity with an award on Jan. 24, according to a press release.
“Really good bell ringers make the difference,” White said.
Aaron Murray, petroleum engineering freshman and member of Beta Theta Pi, and his fraternity brothers found a way to spread the enthusiasm of the giving season.
“One way to make it more fun was to sing as we were ringing,” Murray said. “Usually when we sang, people were more enthusiastic to give. Sometimes, people would come up and sing with us; some would come and say, ‘Thank you.’ Some people, even though they are college students, would drop quite a bit of money.”
The money raised helped provide local families with food, Angel Tree Program toys and clothing during the Christmas season. The remaining funds also will continue to contribute to the homeless shelter in Norman, the food pantry, youth programs, outreach ministries and emergency needs, according to the press release.
White said he also hopes the Salvation Army someday may be able to open a Boys and Girls Club in Norman.
“Many of [the Salvation Army’s] values align with our fraternal values. We do this every year; it’s one of our traditions,” Zach Lanier, Beta Theta Pi Chapter President and letters and political science senior, said. “It’s about commitment to community and giving back to the people.”