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Salvation Army kettle donations are down 40%

The Salvation Army bell is a reminder that somebody out there needs help, a call to give if you can."
    
Lieutenant Chris Welch knows knows more than most about ringing that bell.
As a Salvation Army cadet, he spent ten hours a day next to the red kettle.

LT. Chris Welch/Salvation Army "Just sharing Christmas cheer, saying Merry Christmas, thank you, God bless you. If they give, wonderful. If not we know if people are able to give, they're going to give."

Kay Winkler/FWB "If I have money on me, I drop money into the bucket. I think it's very important."
    
Kettle collections help the Salvation Army give Christmas presents to kids in need.
They fund programs to feed, clothe and shelter people all year long.
    
But a late Thanksgiving meant a late start to bell ringing.
Donations are down forty percent from this time last year.

LT. Welch "People have continued to be generous, and support here, so that's not the problem. It's just those five days do make a difference, it equals about thirty thousand dollars when you add it up for us."
    
Kay Winkler stopped by to drop off her Angel Tree presents.
She says now that the community knows the need, it will be taken care of.  

Kay "I think if everybody gets out there and gives, and helps, everything will be all right and the kids and the families will have their Christmas. And it's such a blessing to be able to help other people."

Last year the Salvation Army kettle drive raised 172-thousand dollars in Okaloosa and Walton Counties"