Red-kettle donations soar 12.5% to $880K
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer
A sluggish economy and lost jobs haven't dampened the giving spirit in Hawai'i, with residents donating a whopping 12.5 percent more this year to The Salvation Army's red kettle campaign. That marks the fifth consecutive year that red-kettle giving has increased here.
Hawai'i residents gave more than $880,000 in kettle donations this year, surprising Salvation Army officials, who thought the best they could hope for was a 3 percent to 5 percent increase. When Guam is included, the total came to $922,578.
Lower mail-in contributions to the nonprofit could still offset gains at the kettle, however.
"We are very pleased and pleasantly surprised that the people of Hawai'i have responded so positively to our appeal for support, especially during these difficult times," said Maj. Edward Hill, divisional commander for Hawai'i Salvation Army.
"We are heartened by the generous donors who have shown their trust and confidence in believing that The Salvation Army will continue to deliver the necessary services needed to help the increasing number of people most affected by the economic crisis."
At the beginning of the red kettle campaign, which ran about six weeks, the organization was hoping to match last year's donation total of about $780,000 (nearly $818,000 when Guam's giving was included) or maybe see a slight increase.
But kettle contributions have steadily increased over the last five years even as the economy slowed, said Daniel de Castro, Salvation Army spokesman .
People who are feeling the pinch are still giving, a testament to Hawai'i's aloha spirit , de Castro said.
"More people are hurting but ... people seem to come through with their desire to help people who are hurting more than they are," he said.
Across The Salvation Army's Western Territory, which includes 10 divisions, Hawai'i has had the biggest gain at the kettle. Six other divisions took a loss, and Alaska just topped its collection from last year, de Castro said.
"It really shows how generous the people of Hawai'i are," he said.
Mail-in contributions thus far are down by $73,000, de Castro said.
"That's 10 percent and that seems to be the pervasive trend in all the other divisions within our territory," de Castro said. "Although the encouraging part is our red-kettle collections, it's tempered by the fact that it's lower on the (mail-in) appeals."