Monday, April 02, 2012
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What the Salvation Army is doing in Logan County today

Part 1: Do funds raised here stay here?

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[April 02, 2012]  Last December, there was a bit of a stir in Logan County. For the first time since anyone could remember, there were no local Salvation Army bell ringers standing in the doorways of local merchants. The public starting asking anyone they thought could answer: "Where are the bell ringers?"

Inside Keest Center, interim director Tony Shuff was also in a quandary. Christmas was really only a few days away. The bell ringer program was the primary fundraiser for the local chapter, and it hadn't begun. He, too, was asking, "Where are the bell ringers?"

On Dec. 9 LDN interviewed Shuff about the Red Kettle drive. He said the goal for the year was $26,000. At that time, he had one bell ringer and several "silent kettles" out in the community. He was looking for volunteers who would ring the bells even for a day or a weekend.

He told LDN on that day that if he could even come close to reaching the annual goal, he would fall to his knees and thank God, because it was going to take something close to a miracle to accomplish it.

Last week, Shuff sat down with LDN once again. Three months into his position, he is now the official director of the local chapter. Shuff works at the Keest Center and has the help of his wife, Pam, when needed.

The first thing on the agenda was to discuss what happened last year with the Red Kettle program.

Shuff said the drive ended with a total collection of $23,000, an amazing figure for basically only 2 1/2 weeks of work.

He said he has much to be thankful for to God and to the community that did God's work.

"We ended up with four bell ringing locations locally and one at the IGA in Mason City. We had hoped we could get $15,000 to $17,000, but the money just kept coming in," Shuff said. "I know one day there were five volunteers sitting in here counting money. It took the better part of two hours for them to get done, and when they had finished, there was $9,000."

Shuff said the mail-in donations were a huge part of the fundraiser this year.

"We have that set up for the checks to go directly to the bank now, so I don't see the actual check, but I get the deposit statement from the bank. In one bank statement alone, we had over $6,000 donated by mail," he said.

Shuff said none of it would have been possible without those who cared enough about the work of the Salvation Army to give, and not only their cash, but also their time.

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In the end, Shuff said Jefferson Street Christian Church members volunteered to be bell ringers for a day, as did Open Arms Christian Fellowship, Kroger employees, folks from Christian Village and a Rotary Club youth program.

Shuff said it was indeed something close to a miracle that the local chapter was able to come up with such a nice sum of money in only about 2 1/2 weeks. He said it just goes to show what can happen in this community when people are made aware that there is a need.

Shuff said it takes just over $60,000 annually for the Salvation Army to run a program in Logan County. The Red Kettle program is the largest contributor to those costs, but mail-in donations also come in throughout the year. The balance is picked up by the district and state levels of the organization.

This answers one question that many people have about fundraising in general: "Does the money stay local?"

Shuff said it was quite apparent that in Logan County the money stays local because it takes more to run the program than the local chapter can provide.


This concludes Part 1 of a series. In the next segment, Shuff will begin answering the often-asked question, "What is Keest Center being used for?"


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