The ringing of the Salvation Army bell will be a little earlier than usual this year. That is because the Salvation Army is trying to make up for a shortage of donations. Since last year the Salvation Army has seen a 25% increase in the amount of people needing assistance, and at the same time, they have also seen a 25% decrease in donations. Heather Ward has never asked for help before, but when the economy took a downturn a few months ago, she had no other choice. "There's not been work so you can't just go and purchase things, but thank god there's places like the Salvation Army." She is not alone. The Salvation Army's thrift store was packed. There was not even an empty parking spot. Major Butch Mallard works for the Salvation Army, and he has seen what the economy has done. "Because of the economy, our need for services has gone up with more people being out of work and foreclosures going up they come to us." Something else that may be hurting donations is a billboard on Oleander, stating your donations will help those in Wake County, which is not true. The sign company made a mistake and the billboard will be down in a couple of days. All the money raised stays in the surrounding 5 counties. Last year the Salvation Army helped 65,000 people. This year, they will be helping 75,000. Last year they raised $192,000 to buy clothes and toys for children in need. This year, they have lowered their expectations, hoping to get $175,000. The Salvation Army needs volunteers to ring the Christmas kettle bell. They also need coats and they say each year they never have enough coats to give local needy children. For more information call the Salvation Army at 910-762-7354.
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