Outside local stores, The Salvation Army bells are ringing. But not as many people are giving, even though most people do think the Salvation Army is a good cause.
"They're a very good organization. I give a lot of items to them during the year," said Robert Morgera of North Smithfield.
Even though the need is greater than ever, donations are down by more than $50,000 over last year.
Because Thanksgiving fell late on the calendar, there were five fewer kettle collection days. And with a weak economy, people don't necessarily have much to spare.
The Salvation Army is still asking you to drop a little something in the bucket.
"The second part we've been facing here in Rhode Island is just the frigid weather. It's so cold, and so our kettles are really down by 21 percent and that has us really scared and nervous because a lot of people are counting on us this year," said Maj. Robert Kountz, the Providence Corps officer.
Kountz said the situation is desperate.
"This is what we're really feeling, why we're a little nervous. We need a Christmas miracle. There's no other way to say it. But we really do need that miracle," Kountz said. "We are very desperate, but we also have a lot of faith in the community."
Janice Collins of Warwick opened her wallet.
"I believe if you give, it will always come back to you," Collins said.
Another reason the kettle collection programs are struggling in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts is the fact that many corporate offices limit the number of days per week the Salvation Army can be outside stores, and on top of that, it's hard to find bell ringers.
You can help by tossing some change in the pot or by volunteering as a bell ringer.
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