SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Salvation Army is asking for help to continue their programs for the community, they are having challenges with their fundraiser of the year, the Red Kettle Campaign.

“Where we are in the Red Kettle Campaign right now, we’re far behind where we were this time last year, so it’s a real concern,” said Lt. Core Officer Jamaal Ellis, Salvation Army Shreveport, “COVID-19 continues to impact what we do, for the Salvation the need has gone up, but in a lot of areas’s the funds have dwindled or gone down.”

This year they started the Red Kettle Challenge to raise more money. Their goal is $165,000 and just last month they were short $13,000 than November of 2019.

“If we continue on the course that we’re trending on right now, we’ll find ourselves about $60,000 short of where we need to be for the kettle.”

The Salvation Army still needs $60,000 to meet its annual budget goal that serves the local area. The money funds their community programs, such as after-school programs at the boys and girls club, plus food and shelter at their center of hope program for adults.

“If we don’t get the income we got to shave away at the expenses as well, that means fewer people that the Salvation Army can serve, we don’t want that to happen. We want to fully do what we do in the community and that’s serving the needs of the people that need us most.”

Lt. Ellis says if they don’t meet the goal, those programs will be impacted. And they have a shortage of red kettle ringers due to COVID-19.

“But a lot those bell ringers are maybe retired, or maybe older and just the risk of COVID is just not worth to them and we understand completely but the bell ringers we would have had from the past are not just returning this year so we are actually struggling to have people out there to ring the bell.”

And due to the shortage community members can now donate online on the Salvation Army website.

“We need this to be successful because there is a lot of need in our area, there’s a lot of people that are calling the Salvation Army, what we don’t want to do is start turning people away, we want to be able to continue to serve, but we don’t want to do it without you.”