PARKERSBURG - The Salvation Army of Parkersburg Corps is hoping for some last-minute donations to reach this year's red kettle drive goal.
"We are about $13,000 short of our $150,000 goal," said the organization's bookkeeper Shirley Smith.
The total amount raised through this year's drive was $136,852.16, which is about $600 less than what was donated last year.
The economic recession is the suspected cause of the shortfall.
"The donations this year were not bad, especially given the current economic situation," Smith said. "Really, what people were able to give have been tremendously appreciated."
The money collected during the drive, which began Nov. 13 and ended Christmas Eve, went to fund Christmas for nearly 1,000 families - including about 3,000 children. The corps aids families and individuals in Wood, Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Wirt and Pleasants counties.
The Salvation Army funded boxed meals and, in some cases, gifts for children with the collections.
Salvation Army Major Vernon Dolby previously voiced concern over meeting this year's goal.
"I'm not sure if we will make it this year and that worries me," Dolby said Dec. 14 during the Salvation Army's annual Christmas giveaway and pickup.
The funds collected were from more than 20 sites around the area that were manned by part-time Salvation Army employees and community volunteers.
Smith said the $136,852 is more than appreciated and covers most of the cost the organization had budgeted for the year from the red kettles.
As of the beginning of December, Dolby said the kettles were down about $8,000 from where they were expected to be. A sizable donation from a donor did aid in bringing the number up, but it was not enough to bring the Salvation Army to its goal.
"We are still hoping people will come in and give us donations," Smith said. "It has happened before."
The campaign has been a holiday season fixture in the Mid-Ohio Valley for more than 100 years.
The money made from this year's red kettles, as with every other year, is expected to fund programs the Salvation Army provides the community throughout the year, including the Christmas food and toys as well as the annual Thanksgiving dinner.
Smith said that if additional donations are not made to the Salvation Army, the organization will have to find other ways to make ends meet.
"If we don't make the goal, we will have to watch everything we do closely," she said.