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Black Friday Shopping Boost Does Not Help Christmas Campaign -- Western PA Salvation Army Red Kettle Stats Trailing 2011 By $91,000

CARNEGIE, Pa., Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although this year's Black Friday shopping stats hit a healthy high, The Salvation Army's 28 County Western Pennsylvania Division's Red Christmas Kettle Campaign didn't enjoy that same success.  Its 38 Worship and Service Centers are trailing behind 2011 figures by more than $91,000.  "Even though Thanksgiving came extra early this year, we're still behind," said Major William H. Bode, The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Divisional Commander.  "People from this area are extremely generous, but I can't help but wonder if the fear of the 'Financial Cliff' is making an impact." 

There are three ways to support The Salvation Army's Christmas Campaign: red kettles; direct mail appeal; and social media.  Red Kettle dollars stay where you give.  Mail appeal money stays where you live.  And, social media contributions go where the need is greatest in Western Pennsylvania.  The Western Pennsylvania Division's Red Christmas Kettle Campaign goal is slightly more than 2.8 million dollars.  The Allegheny County goal is set at $785,000.

Of the 38 Worship and Service Centers, 27 are lagging behind last year's figures.  Those that are in a $1,000 or more deficit are: Aliquippa; Beaver Falls; Clearfield; Franklin; Greensburg; Greenville; Huntingdon; Jeannette; Kiski Valley; Latrobe; McKeesport; Monessen; New Kensington; Punxsutawney; Sharon/Mercer; Uniontown; Warren; Washington; and Pittsburgh's Homewood, Northside, Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon Temple Corps, Steel Valley/Homestead, and Westside.  "It is important for our donors to understand that our fundraising is segmented," explained Major Bode.  "That means that money raised within that community stays there to support its own residents."

Donors have an abundance of online social media options.  You may give online by logging onto www.OnlineRedKettle.org.  Contributors can also text the words "GIVEPGH" to 80888 to make a $10 donation to support the campaign.  The gift will appear as a charge on the donor's next mobile phone bill.  The Salvation Army also offers a free update for the iPhone virtual "Bellringer" application by logging onto bellringer.salvationarmyusa.org.  The update includes new video content and also enables donations to The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign via text message.  This free app enables friends and supporters of The Salvation Army to share in the tradition of being a Salvation Army bellringer by ringing a virtual bell right on their phone. 

Volunteers and kettle sites are desperately needed.  For more information in either volunteering at a kettle or providing a site, contact your local Salvation Army.  If you are in Allegheny County, contact Jocelyn Karsesnick at 412-446-1637.  Families are encouraged and welcomed to volunteer.

Both a church and a social service organization, The Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865.  Today, it provides critical services in 126 countries worldwide.  The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services.  To learn more about The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, log onto www.salvationarmy-wpa.org.  The Salvation Army … Doing the most good . . . for the most people . . . in the most need.

SOURCE Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Division

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