- The Washington Times - Monday, December 24, 2001

Amidst the hustle of merchants and bustle of shoppers, thousands of Salvation Army volunteers have manned their famous red kettles at malls and stores around the country this holiday season, trying to drum up support for an organization desperate for funds.
"Now more than ever, people are relying on the services of the Salvation Army," said Commissioner John Busby, National Commander of the Salvation Army. "Never before have so many requests for help been received."
The Salvation Army is under stress because its post-September 11 aid efforts have overlapped with its year-end agenda.
"The Salvation Army's continued response to the events of September 11, combined with its traditional holiday service and fundraising programs, have made this an especially busy time for the organization," the organization's press release stated.
At Pentagon City Mall, many shoppers who gave to the Salvation Army were aware of the organization's dire need.
"The Salvation Army historically has done so much good for so many people," said consultant Bill Booher, 52, shopping on his lunch break. "At this time of the year, they need so much help to provide for people beyond New York and D.C."
Mr. Booher said he perceived that charities like the Salvation Army were not receiving as much money from Americans as usual. "Not because people don't care, but because they've been so generous with other charities centered around 9/11."
"The American people gave so much to help New York," said Bob Lott, 63, a retiree from Yakima, Wash., who was visiting family with his wife, Joan. "Some of your normal charities are going to have a tough time."
The Salvation Army is undaunted, said spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Jones. "The Army will find a way to get it done. We've been doing it for 121 years in this country."
Shoppers at the mall agreed and cited the Salvation Army's strong reputation. "A small percentage [of money] goes into administration; most of the money actually goes into helping people," Mr. Lott said.
"I know they're a good charity," said Jake Gibson, 31."And I know they're not getting as much this year." Mr. Gibson said he learned of the Salvation Army's needs from a TV news report.
Diane Reed, 35, worked three shifts this week, ringing that familiar bell at the Pentagon City Mall. She said, "I haven't seen as many people giving as in the past, but what people are giving seems to be more substantial.I've seen a lot of $10s and $20s."
Last year, the red kettles generated nearly $85 million, said Lt. Jones.
The Pentagon was also on the minds of many who contributed. Elaine Kanellis, who works for Army Public Affairs, found $6 on the floor of the Pentagon. She told a friend she would give it to the Salvation Army, and Thursday afternoon, she was true to her word.
"I just thought it would be fitting," she said.
Not every act of charity was spurred by such motives. Sarah Hooper, 32, said with a smile, "I always give because I feel bad for people standing there ringing a bell and being blown off by all these people shopping."
The Salvation Army's red kettles will be at malls, stores and street corners through today.

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