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Kettle campaign short of goal

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Donations at the Salvation Army kettles were down this holiday season, according to Lt. Mitch Brecto of the Jamestown Salvation Army. The organization is hoping other forms of donations will help cover the shortfall.

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"Our goals for the Christmas drive was $118,000," Brecto said. "We anticipated $70,000 from the kettles and are about $20,000 short on that part. The good news is the mail campaign and the walk-in donations have been up so we actually are at about 83 percent of the total goal."

This still leaves the organization down about $18,000 from its goal for the year.

"We are thankful to those that gave so generously of their time and money," Brecto said.

One of the principal volunteers this year was Willie Kamletz, who provided 160 hours of bell-ringing service at the Park Plaza Mall. Volunteers spent a total of more than 840 hours at the kettles with bells in hand.

"I spent six weeks ringing every day," Kamletz said. "I've been doing this for 20-some years and it is something to do that helps the organization."

The 89-year-old Kamletz pledged to help out again next year.

"If my health holds and if the Lord wills I'll be there," he said. "I've enjoyed every bit of it."

The Salvation Army also helped a number of families during the holiday season.

"Between the angel tree and the food baskets we served over 500 people," Brecto said. "We had people calling looking for angels to adopt even after we had closed off the program."

Participants in the angel tree program select a tag off a Christmas tree in Walmart or the Buffalo Mall and purchase a gift for the child in a disadvantaged family.

Brecto said the organization hopes the walk-in and mail-in donations continue.

"I hope we make our goal," he said. "We'll work with what we have and strive to use what comes in in the manner the donors would want."

The Christmas fundraising program amounts to about 20 percent of the Salvation Army operating budget.

"The need doesn't go away," Brecto said. "It seems to be greater every year."

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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