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Nov 4, 2009 9:51 PM by Andy Koen

Salvation Army hit hard by recession

Some familiar bells will be ringing next week as the Salvation Army's Kettle drive gets underway for the 2009 holiday season. 

The recession has hit the El Paso County chapter pretty hard and coordinator Major Don Gilger hopes that shoppers will be extra generous with this year's drive.

"We're a bit worried that we can raise enough funds to help all the people we need to help."

Gilger says the recession hits charities particularly hard because of what's known as the the 20/20 factor.

"It's about a 20 percent increase in need and a 20 percent decrease in funding," Gigler said.

That cash-crunch has lead to some tough decisions.  On Monday, the adult rehabilitation center closed after becoming too expensive to run, and the thrift store at Circle and Platte will shut it's doors when the lease is up at the end of the year.

"It's streamlining," Gilger explains.  "We're trying to do whatever we can do to help people who need the assistance of drug and alcohol treatment, that's what the Salvation Army does, but what we can't do is run things at a deficit."

Most of the Salvation Army's programs will be unaffected by the downsizing, even the drug and alcohol treatment will continue with clients being bused to Denver. 

But there will be fewer bell ringers out when the kettle campaign begins next week.  Many storefronts that hosted kettles last year have since closed.

"When you see the kettles out there, if you receive a donation letter, if you have clothes to donate, all those things, those are the things that make the difference for us and enable us to help the community."

The annual Red Kettle Breakfast takes place Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. at the Antler's Hotel.  It kicks off the kettle campaign and is open to anyone who wants to support it.

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