Less opportunity for giving in Augusta this holiday season

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December 23, 2006

AUGUSTA, Ga.---'Tis the season for giving, and the Salvation Army's annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign has been out since November raising money for local families in need this Christmas season.

But this year's donations may not meet the goal.

The Salvation Army's Red Kettle is always ready to pass on whatever gift you can give...no matter how big or small.

"Here in Augusta for sure...when people need it the most, people tend to give it the most," said the Salvation Army's Tracie Parker.

But people in Augusta had less of an opportunity to give this year, because the Augusta Mall decided not to let the organization in to ring on their cause.

"The loss of the mall hurt us," Parker said. "About two weeks into it we were about $15,000 behind our goal."

So the rest of the season has been spent playing catch up, working hard to fill the red kettles with green.

This Christmas the Augusta Salvation Army will help 21,000 people in the CSRA, including 4,600 families. But the buck doesn't stop there. Money raised over the holidays also helps fund other important assistance programs, like the emergency shelter, meals for the homeless, social services and a substance abuse clinic.

"It's not just about giving to the Salvation Army. It's about giving to those are in dire need and really need that blessing," Parker said.

Helping those in need is what brings Charlie Gaugh back every Christmas for the last 15 years.

"It's fun to do," he told News 12, "helping little kids out who aren't fortunate enough to have what other kids have. So I'm fortunate to get out here and do it for them."

"Our slogan is, when you put money in the kettle, expect change...because that's what we do," Parker said.

It's a change funded by you for a better tomorrow, making the kettle truly a gift that keeps on giving.

The Red Kettle fundraising drive ended today, and as of this morning, the Salvation Army was a few thousand dollars under their goal.

They'll have a final total next week.