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KC-area Salvation Army volunteers speak on importance of donations amid decrease

Dave Hadley
Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-28 19:45:03-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Charitable donations have been on the decline in 2023, according to Giving Tuesday’s annual report on philanthropy.

This means benefactors of these donations, like the Salvation Army, are seeing fewer dollars they can use to fund their programming and offer their services.

“Other folks that may have given in the past can’t give because they just don’t have the means to do so,” said Damon Bryant, the director of marketing and public relations for Salvation Army in Kansas City.

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He understands economic factors like inflation have also contributed to people’s inability to give, something that he said spiked upward during the pandemic.

“That means that folks actually have to choose what they’re going to do with their money,” he said.

Time is also a factor as well. It’s something that Dave Hadley, who has been volunteering with the Salvation Army since 1997, has a lot of now that he’s retired.

“The volunteer coordinators may call me and say, 'Hey, I need some help this afternoon, can you come do that?' Well not everybody has that flexibility,” Hadley said.

But because he does, volunteering has allowed him to learn people’s stories and have direct contact with the people serves.

He says seeing that impact firsthand is what promotes longevity like his.

“Feeling like you have a purpose,” Hadley said. “Feeling like what you’re doing is making a difference.”

It’s something Bryant realized too, which is why as virtual options to give also increase, he hopes in person bell-ringing remains a staple.

“I’ve rung the bell several times this season, and you just never get tired of seeing the generosity of people and then hearing the stories of how the Salvation Army may have helped someone out in their time of need," he said,

This year, the KC Salvation Army’s goal was to raise $800,000 with its kettle donations, a tradition spanning over 100 years.

Bryant says they were $80,000 short of their goal this year, but that it’s important to keep in mind that the goal amounts increase year after year.

Last year, the goal was $700,000. As far as this year’s amount goes, he’s still optimistic about meeting the goal but understands why the numbers are what they are.

“Lack of volunteers are really driving the amount of kettles we put out each year,” he said.

Though volunteers like Hadley are hard to come by, both he and Bryant are optimistic about seeing more in the future.

“I also like to think that we’ve all got some innate desire to help those that are less fortunate than we are,” Hadley said.