Salvations Army Bells Go Silent After Tough Year

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

A man places a donation into a red kettle as Salvation Army youth recreation coordinator Brad Weyer of Cedar rapids (left) and youth development coordinator Courtney Grau also of Cedar Rapids (right) ring bells Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 outside of the Johnson Ave. Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids. Tuesday's bucket blitz was the kickoff event for this years red kettle campaign which hopes to raise $750,000. (Brian Ray/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign isn’t over yet, but the bells have stopped ringing across Eastern Iowa.

“It has been kind of tough,” said Lia Pontarelli of the Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids. “There have been a number of reasons.”

The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids is still about $220,000 short of their goal. In Iowa City officials are about half-way to their goal of $350,000.

Pontarelli said a shorter holiday season and extreme cold have made it tough to get donations and bell-ringers.

“The cold weather means we’ve got a few people who do not want to bell ring,” she said. “When people are shopping, they’re in a hurry to get to the store and back to their cars [because of the cold].”

Salvation Army’s across the nation have reported a reduction in total donations. The end result could be a reduction in some services if more funds aren’t raised before the Red Kettle Campaign officials ends at the end of next month.

The Salvation Army continues to collect donations online and in person. The final bells went silent for the year as the sunset across Iowa on this Christmas Eve.

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