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San Diego Salvation Army Says Donations Are Down

A San Diego shopper drops a donation into one of The Salvation Army's red kettles outside a Walmart in Grossmont Center on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2014.
Nicholas McVicker
A San Diego shopper drops a donation into one of The Salvation Army's red kettles outside a Walmart in Grossmont Center on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2014.

The sound of a ringing bell can be hard to miss, but The Salvation Army says that's what is happening.

Donations to the charity's annual red kettle drive are down 21 percent in San Diego County compared to last year. That's left the charity about $130,000 short of its $787,000 goal this year.

Red kettle donations help fund Salvation Army programs all year long, such as providing food and other services, as well as toys at Christmas, said Major Lee Lescano, the divisional commander of The Salvation Army.

“Right now we need donations to bring the miracle of Christmas to those who are hungry, those who have lost their jobs, those who hope to give their children at least one toy on Christmas morning," he said. "But when Christmas is over, those people still face hunger, job loss, discouragement and we desperately want to help them all year long."

Captain Terry Masango said people seem to be shopping more, but giving less.

"We have seen that a lot of the families that are coming to us are working class families trying to make ends meet," he said. "But they're just struggling to make a decision whether to buy toys, pay rent, buy food or to pay their utility bills."

The red kettle campaign runs through Wednesday. The Salvation Army is also taking tax-deductible donations online and by mail.