Donations from the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign are down 8 percent from this time last year.
The organization reported that it has collected $3.3 million so far this holiday season, which is 26 percent of its $13 million goal. However, the shorter holiday season and prevalence of credit cards over cash have made that goal more difficult to achieve.
Lloyd Wennlund, the 2013 Red Kettle Champaign Chair, implored Chicago residents to help make up for the lost time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He said the Salvation Army is the largest social service provider in the area, and all of the donations directly benefit the community.
"We had anticipated that this would be a difficult year because of the shorter holiday season, but I know that we’re a city of people who care deeply about their neighbors in need," Wennlund said, "so I ask my fellow Chicagoans to join forces with me and give whatever you can to the red kettles or sponsor your own online red kettle and help us meet the goal in the remaining weeks to Christmas."
However, it's not all bad news for the Salvation Army this year. The organization has seen a 270 percent increase in online red kettle donations. Donors can either give to the Salvation Army's online red kettle or host their own.
According to charity officials, Red Kettle funds help provide meals and child care, among other services. The organization also delivers food, gifts and clothing to people in need during the holiday season.
Bell-ringers will be outside Jewel-Osco stores until Jan. 4, but the rest of the red kettles will close shop on Dec. 25.