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Kettle drive sets record

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — More than offsetting the move by Target to bar Salvation Army bell-ringers from soliciting contributions outside the retail chain’s stores, the holiday kettle drive by the organization’s Wake County corps exceeded its goal and the total raised a year ago.

The 2004 drive raised $146,000, up from the previous all-time high of $132,000 set a year ago, and exceeding the $100,000 goal set in the wake of Target’s decision earlier in the year to drop a waiver for the Salvation Army from a rule barring soliciting outside the chain’s stores.

The 2003 kettle drive raised $90 million throughout the United States, with 1,088 Target stores nationally accounting for $9 million, including $52,000 at six stores in Wake County.

Salvation Army officials had feared the Target ban would hurt the 2004 drive because it would be tough, even with new kettle locations, to make up for the loss of contributions generated by the heavy customer traffic at Target’s stores.

Widespread publicity about Target’s no-solicitation policy likely generated more charitable giving, says Amanda McGovern, director of development.

“We received widespread feedback from the public disagreeing with Target’s policy on bell-ringers, and many kettle contributors gave more,” she says.

Ashley Delamar, business administrator for the Salvation Army of Wake County, says the drive also surpassed expectations because a new partnership with MIX 101.5 WRAL-FM that generated nearly $12,000, and an expanded partnership with Hudson Belk that generated nearly $7,000.

Volunteer bell-ringers in 2004 represented 62 civic and church groups at 25 locations, up from 55 groups at 18 locations in 2003, with bell-ringers at the Wal-Mart in Cary raising $28,190, more than at any other Wake site, and surpassing the $22,229 raised in 2003 at the Target store in Cary, the most at any site that year.

The Crabtree Rotary Club raised $22,137, more than any other group.

Anticipating a less successful drive, the Salvation Army had reduced by $30,000 its budget for buying Food Lion food vouchers for families during the holiday season, McGovern says.

Because the drive exceeded its overall goal, she says, that “savings” of $30,000 now will be used throughout the year to assist roughly 400 people in paying utility bills and rent, buying prescription medicine and avoiding eviction.

The Salvation Army also is getting ready to kick off its second annual fund drive on Jan. 19.

Chaired by Prentiss Baker, CEO of Baker Roofing in Raleigh, the drive will depend on volunteers making one-on-one solicitations, and aims to raised $160,000, up from $146,000 it raised last year.

The planned-giving department of the Salvation Army’s Charlotte-based North and South Carolina Division, which supports efforts to raise deferred gifts to local Salvation Army corps in the two states, will sponsor a free estate-planning seminar March 23 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

The Wake corps also is launching a new website at www.keepthebellringing.org. Visitors to the site, designed by Springboard Design Group in Apex, can make online donations and soon will find information about the Salvation Army and its programs.

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