Donations Down: Still time to fill charity shortage

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The Salvation Army’s lighted Christmas tree outside its Quincy Street building showed a band of lights for each $10,000 raised during the holiday Red Kettle campaign. The star at the top was to be lighted when the goal of $65,000 was reached. The star remains unlit this year.

HANCOCK — Donations to charities were down significantly, more than organizations had hoped for this past holiday season.

Capt. Leonida Schweigert of the Hancock Salvation Army said while the Red Kettle fundraising campaign raised a little more than $50,000, the total is about $15,000 short of its goal of $65,000 for the year.

“We were short,” Schweigert said, “but we still have until Jan. 31 of this year to continue our efforts. So anyone who would like to donate will have until the end of this month.”

The Red Kettle Campaign is the only fundraising drive the Salvation Army conducts, and it relies on that one drive to fund its operations throughout its fiscal year.

Schweigert has several community outreach programs scheduled to begin during the 2018 year, including archery and bow hunting classes for area youth, and a cooking class that will offer local youth hands-on education in proper food handling, preparation and cooking. Other established programs are also scheduled again for this year.

Tom Vichich of the Hancock St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank said donations were not as much as in previous years, but weather might have had something to do with it.

“The donations were down significantly,” said Vichich. “Presumably, the Can-a-thon did really well, except our pantry received maybe half of what we received last year.”

Vichich said the Hancock organization was the last stop on the route of the truck that delivers regional donations.

“We were the last drop,” he said, “so we got what was left.”

Vichich said the day the food pantry was supposed to receive its share of the Can-a-thon donations, there was a storm that closed the schools.

“That snow day kind of messed us up,” said Vichich, “because we were supposed to get our delivery, and that was a school snow day.”

Vichich said he had heard from a reliable source that the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry of Marquette had received too little in seasonal donations to offer distributions during the 2017 Christmas holiday.

While the Hancock pantry could ill afford to do it this past season, Vichich said, it conducted a Christmas food distribution anyway.