So far, it's shaping up to be a good year for the Parkersburg Salvation Army. Its kettle campaign is just a few weeks old, and donations are ahead of 2011.
"Right now, we are $3500 ahead," says Lt. Erik Henry, Corps Officer/Pastor. "So far, we have raised $53,000 as opposed to $49,000 last year. Our goal is $160,000, whereas last year it was $154,000. The highest mark ever in Parkersburg was $154,000."
But across the country, there's concern other charities might be affected this year, due to events such as hurricane relief and the just-concluded elections, to which people have also donated.
"Even if people can't make a financial donation this holiday season," says Becky Howard, Regional Chief Development Director for the American Red Cross in West Virginia, "there are other ways to make a difference, such as giving blood volunteering or sending a holiday card to a service member."
And then there's concern the ongoing budget talks in Washington might result in tax code changes which might limit tax-deductible charity donations. Lt. Henry says organizations like the Salvation Army need to be prepared for such issues.
"No matter where we're at financially, we will make sure we will serve this community of Parkersburg and the other outlining counties to the best of our ability."
A survey by Red Cross says people who have donated to political campaigns and relief efforts don't plan to hold back in their holiday giving.
But the same study says fewer people may give this year than in the past two years.