Salvation Army kicks off fundraising drive


Perhaps the only sound more familiar than Christmas music this time of year is that of change being dropped into red kettles everywhere.

"Our goal is $1.4 million," said Major Chris Flanagan with the Salvation Army.

The Houston region Salvation Army kicked off its annual holiday fundraising Friday, but this year, the organization is starting the red kettle drive a week later than usual. So to reach the level of donations, they'll need more supporters like little William Trulove and his grandfather, Jim Wise.

"I think it will pick up as we get closer to Christmas," said Wise.

Competing for your dollars and time are challenges facing every charitable organization. At the Beacon downtown, 500 to 700 homeless are served daily. From the lunch line to the laundry room, it all takes manpower.

"We really depend on volunteers here at the Beacon," said Mike Puccio with the Beacon. "Eighty-five percent of services that we offer are dependent on volunteers."

Puccio says the good news is donations are generally up during the holiday season, but the need is year-long.

"It's a seasonal thing, too," he said. "In the summertime when people go on vacation and things, they drop slightly."

So whether you have a few hours of time to spare or a can part with a few more dollars, this holiday season, charities are definitely ready to put you and your money to good use.

"I think we'll run about even with last year," said Flanagan. "I don't' think we'll be down and the reason is Houstonians have always been generous."

There are more than 200 red kettles around the Houston area. You'll see them a lot during the holiday season. But for the charity of your choice, it's important to remember the need is great year round.

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