Economy takes a toll on Salvation Army collections

The economy is taking a toll on the Salvation Army kettle drive in New Jersey. Collections by the bell ringers are down 19 percent from last year, according to Nancy Wellbrock, development director with the organization’s New Jersey division. She said job concerns may be deterring donations. The economy has also reduced the number of volunteers manning the kettles. Yet, one year shy of 90, Barney Zarro of Lakewood has been braving the cold for more than 20 years as a kettle fundraiser. He said he does it to help an organization that has helped him.”When I was a kid, they gave me my first bicycle,” said Zarro. “When I was 12 years old in the city of Newark, I got a job with the Western Union delivering telegrams with that bicycle and I’ll never forget that.”  Salvation Army officials said they hope donations pick up before the drive ends on Christmas Eve.  Otherwise they may have to reduce some services or conduct an aggressive fundraising campaign early next year.


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