By: Lauren Fabrizi
Every holiday season, the Salvation Army has its red kettle donation, where people can drop in loose change or dollar bills. But this year, the cold has left those kettles empty in Lincoln.
Major Jamie Pennington of the Salvation Army of Lincoln said people haven't been showing up to their shifts because of the low temperatures.
"Since Thanksgiving was five days later this year, couple that with the cold arctic blast that's coming in earlier this year. It's really leaving us struggling for bell ringers," Pennington said.
Fewer volunteers means fewer people filling up those red kettles.
Pennington said the Salvation Army has helped out more families than usual this Thanksgiving, and expects to do the same for Christmas.
He said if their holiday collection goal of $568,500 is not met, then services may have to be cut back or workers may need to be laid off.
"The demand for services is higher than it ever has been," Pennington said. "So obviously looking at a potential shortfall, you just got to wonder how things are going to work."
Pennington said by this time last year, the Salvation Army had already raised half of its goal. So far this year, the army has raised $225,126. That's just barely 40 percent of the way there.
Pennington is asking the community to brave the cold so that families in need will have food on the table or a warm place to stay.
"Yes, it's cold," Pennington said. "But just remember your efforts of what they do to help other people."
If you would like to sign up for a shift, there's 38 different locations across Lincoln, and the collection runs until Christmas Eve. Click here for more information.