As they host Christmas luncheon, Salvation Army officials say Red Kettle donations down

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Salvation Army and hundreds of senior citizens celebrated the holiday season on Wednesday, December 10th with its annual Christmas party and luncheon. But on the same day, they announced donations to their Red Kettle campaign are down so far this year.

Around 700 from around Milwaukee County attended the event at the Italian Community Center.

The luncheon is meant to build goodwill during the Christmas season.

Salvation Army officials say the senior luncheon isn't as much about the food as it is about gathering friends.

"Many of them come dressed for the holidays. They come in with their beautiful Christmas sweaters on, some with Santa hats on, and again it just builds the Christmas spirit, and helps us launch into the Christmas season," Salvation Army Major Dan Jennings said.

The Salvation Army reminds folks that its Red Kettle campaign continues, and encourages donations.

The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County says it's down $65,000 in their Red Kettles compared to this time last year.

“We are very concerned that we’re down.  We need additional volunteer bell ringers and more donations to keep critical programs and services operating in Milwaukee County for families in need.  This year’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign goal is $3.8M. It’s an ambitious goal, but its, needed to sustain year round programming for more than 80 programs and services,” said Major Dan Jennings, Salvation Army Divisional Commander for Wisconsin & Upper Michigan.

“Join our 'Just 2 hours' ring bells campaign, and ask two friends to do the same and post your pictures to social media at #just2hours.  It’s critical to have more Red Kettle sites and a presence at every site” said Major Jennings.

Donations made to the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign support The Salvation Army’s Toy Shop, the Back to School program, disaster relief, emergency housing, food and clothing, emergency utility and rent assistance, employment services, and summer lunch programs for children.

To make a donation or to volunteer to ring bells visit our website at