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Salvation Army Holiday Donations Short

LAWTON Okla_ With the holidays over, the ringing bells of the Salvation Army of Lawton are quiet once again.

The organization wrapped up their Annual Kettle Drive after the Christmas holiday. Now, organizers are tallying up their funds in order to estimate how much money they have for the upcoming year.

In all, the Salvation Army of Lawton raised $95,000 in this year's campaign. That's about $25,000 short of their annual goal. Lieutenant Israel Roseno said no one's to blame, except for Mother Nature. For five and a half weeks, volunteers from all walks of life donated their time to do the most good in Lawton. This year though, Old Man Winter got the last laugh.

"It got so cold with the snow and the ice," Roseno said. "That really scared a lot of the customers that were going to the stores and the volunteers."

Teamed up with a late Thanksgiving so close to December, the Salvation Army found themselves with a deficit of dollars. Long after the kettles are packed up, that shortage could affect everything from serving hot meals to providing fans and heaters to those in need.

"All those services, we're only able to provide them through our kettles," Roseno said. "That mails a check that comes through our office. So, for us it's imperative to have those donations."

Despite the small setback, Roseno said he has confidence that the organization will make ends meet.

"We're going to try to find ways to save money without affecting our services to the community," Roseno said. "We have some great volunteers, and we have great donors that have stepped up to the plate."

That's nothing short of what the Salvation Army's Kettle Drive is all about.

"Just being able to talk to the volunteers and also the bell ringers: that to me was the highlight of the season," Roseno said. "Many people understood what the Salvation Army stands for, and it is really not about the presents, but giving back to others that need it the most."

Another interesting note about the Salvation Army's funding this season is they received many donations earmarked for specific things or services like food for example. This money is never used for anything else other than what it's donated for, so it's never included in their general fund.

The Salvation Army of Lawton will find out where 2013 ranks against years past once those figures are tallied at the state headquarters in Oklahoma City.

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