Note: this story has been corrected to reflect the proper phone number to call for information on a kettle.
NEWARK – Licking County residents will experience a little bit of Christmas this summer when they see Salvation Army’s counter kettles up at local businesses and organizations during July.
Unfortunately, though, the reason for these kettles isn’t to spread summertime Christmas cheer.
The Salvation Army is struggling and needs the community’s help to be able to keep up their current programs and services, according to officials.
Even though their kettles performed well at Christmas, Lt. Denise Martin said they were still short of their projected goal. Mail-in donations were also down.
The counter kettles will go out at the end of June and stay up until the beginning of August.
Martin said they are working diligently to not cut any programs or any assistance they provide.
In the month of May, they served 6,997 meals and averaged about 40 people per night in their shelter.
“I think it would be extremely detrimental if we cut even one meal out of our soup kitchen,” Martin said. “We don’t want to get to the point where that happens.”
Martin said the organization doesn’t do any advertising for itself and all its money goes back to its programs.
Besides raising money, Martin said she also hopes this campaign will help raise awareness.
“We’re here year-round, and we do more than help at just Christmas time,” she said. “We help 365 days a year.”
Martins said she hopes residents will see these small kettles in many of the same places they are at Christmas. She said they want to raise $5,000.
At Christmas, they raised $5,500 with all their counter kettles out.
“Our hope is through this effort, we can make up some of what we’re lacking now,” Martin said. “And, granted, $5,500 is the tip of the iceberg, so to say, but it’s a good start.”
Each kettle features a sign that says “need knows no season,” which used to be a Salvation Army slogan.
“But that’s very appropriate, I think, for our July campaign,” Martin said. “To remind people, it’s not just Christmas. So, hopefully, we’ll get a good support and response.”
Although the Christmas in July campaign is new to Licking County, Martin said it’s been done in other places in Ohio.
Martin used to work in Norwalk and when the Kmart there closed, they had lost about $6,000 to $7,000 in revenue and started up a July kettle campaign.
“There were two locations, two little local stores, grocery stores, that were willing to let us stand, and we just did Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month of July, to help make up that revenue, and it actually went over very well,” Martin said.
“The community continues to be a great supporter, but we all know things don’t cost less than they did,” Martin said. “Everything goes up, and as donations drop and funding is lost, then, it doesn’t change our expenses.”
Businesses that are interested in having a counter kettle can call Martin or Jeannie Ferrara at 740-345-8120.
“And we will make sure they get a kettle,” Martin said. “I have plenty of counter kettles to go around.”