Despite economic hard times, Clovis and Portales still gave generously to the Salvation Army’s three holiday programs, Red Kettles, Angel Tree and The Empty Stocking Fund.
Monetary donations were up 16 percent, according to Salvation Army figures. The biggest increase was in kettle collections, which helped offset a 27-percent drop in the Empty Stocking Fund.
The drop in the Empty Stocking Fund “might be the economy,” Salvation Army Cap. Tammy Ray said. “But with the significant increase in the kettles means it is possible people were giving differently.”
A separate Red Kettle program was created in Portales this year.
The new Portales service extension unit partnered with the Portales Ministerial Alliance, churches and civic organizations to raise $9,755. Volunteers rang bells outside Wal-Mart and Russell’s Super Save every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“All proceeds from Portales will stay in Roosevelt County,” said Dave McVey, president of the Ministerial Alliance and minister at Central Christian Church.
In Clovis, $37,652 was collected in kettles, a 4 percent increase over last year’s combined Clovis and Portales donations.
Funds raised through the Red Kettle program go to relief efforts throughout the entire winter.
The Angel Tree program operates through toy and clothing donations from shoppers at Wal-Mart and North Plains Mall. Six hundred and fifty-six children received gifts through the program in 2008, 53 more than last year,
“People are very generous even in times of crisis,” Ray said. “We know people that took angels off the tree this year that never have before.”
Empty Stocking Fund
The money raised by the Empty Stocking Fund provides toys and clothing for children and food baskets.
Ray said the Salvation Army took 50 more applications for aid this year than in the past, helping about 100 more children.
“We did accept more than previous years because we know the economy has been really difficult. It really has affected people,” Ray said. “We are thankful that people gave sacrificially. It was a blessing for us to see.”
Additionally, this season’s funds helped purchase $10 gift certificates for senior citizens receiving government subsidized food boxes and provided Wal-Mart gift cards to children whose tags on the Angel Tree were not chosen.
“It is always difficult to find enough volunteers,” Ray said. “Though, this year we did have more volunteers than any year since we’ve been here. The more that people become aware of what we do, the more people want to be involved and realize it can be a lot of fun.”
Ray said she encourages anyone who wants to get involved to contact the Salvation Army at 762-3802.
Clovis and Portales Donations to the Salvation Army through the Empty Stocking Fund and Red Kettles:
Empty Stocking Fund Red Kettles Total
2006 $7,026 $31,000 $38,026
2007 $10,228 $36, 273 $46,501
2008 $7,440 $47,407* $54,847
* Combined Clovis Salvation Army and Portales extension unit donations