VAN WERT – This year’s Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign raised 48,306.62 – nearly $17,000 under the $65,000 goal.

A large reason why the total raised this year came in under the goal was due to people available to ring the bells at each location. Nearly half the amount raised came from the Wal-Mart locations alone.

While the totals were down this year, Lt. Josh Brookman of the Van Wert Salvation Army said that volunteerism was up.

“One positive thing for the Kettles is that we wanted to have 60 percent of ringers be volunteers, and we were actually able to get 63 percent volunteer base,” said Brookman. “Our hours were down but those hours were effective in raising money because of the willingness of people to volunteer for us.”

The money raised from the Red Kettle campaign stays local and helps the Salvation Army provide services to the Van Wert community and to those in need.

“We try to concentrate on food and clothing, those are two big things that we help out with,” said Brookman. “We have our food pantry, and if someone needs food, they can get that every 30 days.”

The Salvation Army also provides clothing vouchers to the thrift shop for those in need every six months.

When there is money available, the Salvation Army can also assist with those who are homeless and need a place to stay.

“In the past, we’ve tried to help with putting people up in the Fountain Inn, but unfortunately that funding hasn’t been there recently,” said Brookman, who noted that the Salvation Army does have a list of contacts that can be called to help a person find a place to stay.

Aside from donating money, citizens can also donate their time and become a volunteer at the Salvation Army.

“People can call our number (419-910-9332), and Daniece will collect their information,” said Brookman. “She has volunteers for the food pantry, and we also have volunteers for our feeding program on Wednesdays. We have a core group that comes in every week, but we also need help during the week to serve.”

The Salvation Army provides a lunch to anyone in the community on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. People do not need to register and can stop in to eat with no questions asked.

The Salvation Army also conducts a Sunday Service. There is a breakfast at 10 a.m on Sundays with Sunday School around 10:15 a.m. and Sunday Church Service around 11 a.m.

On Tuesday nights, the Salvation Army holds a Bible study and women’s ministry at 6 p.m., and on Thursday’s there are kids programs starting at 5 p.m. which includes a Bible lesson and a dinner. There is no registration required.

“We try to help anyone that we can that comes through the door,” said Brookman. “Unfortunately, with funding, it’s one of the reasons we can’t help everyone as much as we would like. But we try to love and show the love of Christ to everyone that comes in, and we try to give them as much as we can.”

The next event the Salvation Army has planned is the auction which will take place in the spring.