- Associated Press - Friday, December 23, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Get those coins out: Donations for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle program in Arizona, New Mexico and southern Nevada are down this year.

The nonprofit says donations are down from last year, which saw $4.5 million in cash. This year the region has produced about $3.3 million.

Spokeswoman Melany Stroupe says the holiday-time staple of posting a bell-ringer with the collection bucket outside of major stores is in trouble this year because fewer retailers have allowed the program outside their buildings and there are also fewer volunteers.

Stroupe says Red Kettle donations account for up to 60 percent of fundraising for the year. Donations are used for meals, clothing and shelter for those in need, and the money stays in whatever region it was donated in.

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