Last year in Hawaii, the Salvation Army raised almost $1 million through its red kettle campaign.
So far this year, it has only raised about $371,000.
Maj. John Chamness, divisional commander for The Salvation Army in Hawaii, thinks the reason is the missing holiday week. Since Thanksgiving fell three days before December this year, there is one fewer week between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- which means one less week to shop and to give.
“I’m assuming that’s the reason for the numbers being down drastically,” Chamness told Kauai's Garden Island.
But the difference in fundraising between this year and last is astounding, and no one can be sure that the "missing week" is the reason. At this rate, the Hawaii Salvation Army will only raise about 60 percent of last year's donations by the time the red kettle campaign ends on Christmas Eve.
All Hawaii donations to The Salvation Army stay in the state, and go towards meals and shelter for the needy, Christmas toys and other services. According to The Garden Island, more than 135,000 Hawaii residents received help from The Salvation Army last year.
Hawaii charities were already having a rough year thanks to the October government shutdown, which paused a federal employee giving program on which many local nonprofits relied.
Red kettle campaign volunteers stand outside stores, ringing the iconic bell and waiting for people to fill the kettle with spare change and dollars. Sixty-one-year-old Norma Cortez was surprised to hear about the meager numbers. "That’s really bad," she said. "We usually always hit our goals.”
You can make a donation to the Hawaii Salvation Army through their virtual red kettle.