Kingsport Salvation Army in desperate need of donations ahead of holiday season

The Salvation Army in Kingsport says they need hundreds of thousands of dollars just to meet their goal by the end of this year.

They told us they are not receiving high dollar donations like they used to, and programs like the red kettle campaign came up thousands of dollars short last year.

On Tuesday afternoon we visited the Kingsport Salvation Army location where dozens were lined up for a hot meal.

“It’s a lifesaver lets just put it like that, it’s a very good live saver,” said Mitchell Womack.

“The place means a whole lot to me to come here at 12 o’clock and eat,” said Ruby Ryans.

In order to keep feeding those who need it most, Major Alan Hill says something is going to have to change.

“I looked at the revenue coming in over the last 3, 4 years and its just been a steady decline every year at $100,000 plus a year. The numbers just don’t work, its impossible for us to continue the level of service that we have been doing in the past,” said Hill.

He says because they are a non-profit, they heavily rely on donations from the community.

They are donations the organization continues to see less and less of every year.

“I’ve talked to business men around town and they say I don’t see where the economy is really improving in a lot of areas,” said Hill.

Major Hill says another reason for the shortfall is a decline in donations through one of the salvation army’s biggest campaigns.

“The kettle bell ringing, that was supposed to bring in $108,000 thousand last year, it only made $76,000,” said Hill.

It ultimately put Kingsport’s Salvation Army in a financial bind, and in a position where they may have to start cutting programs ahead of one of their busiest seasons.

On Tuesday afternoon we watched as volunteers helped families sign up for their annual Christmas program.

“We are already over 300 families,” said Hill.

Less than two miles down the road, Pastor Will Shewey at Shades of Grace says he too understands what the Salvation Army is going through.

“I receive an average of about four phone calls daily on my personal cell phone asking assistance for housing, electric bills, motels sometimes,” said Shewey.

“I learned a long time ago to place all this in the Lord’s hands,” said Hill.

Major Alan Hill says they need to raise more than $200,000 in the next month and a half to meet their goal.

He says if they can’t accomplish that, they will hold meetings immediately after the holidays to figure out how to move forward.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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