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Big Drop In Kettle Donations To Salvation Army

BOSTON (CBS) - A familiar sound around Christmas – the sound of the bells rung by the Salvation Army bell ringers.

However, this year the ringing of the bells has yet to fill the Salvation Army's red kettles.

"We have not been behind this much just a few days before Christmas," said Major Edgar George, Jr. who has 35 years with the Salvation Army. He and his son brought their A-game outside the Westwood Roche Brothers.

The organization needs to raise one million dollars to hit their three and a half million-dollar goal by the end of the day on December 23rd.

Salvation Army bell ringers outside Roche Brothers in Westwood (WBZ-TV)

Many locations have seen donations go down by 10 to 15%. Others have seen steep drops like Malden – 50%, Lawrence – 40% and Plymouth - 30%. The money stays locally - going toward social services, food and clothing needs.

One possible reason for the drop in kettle donations is fewer people are carrying cash.

"We may be down due to the cashless society we're turning into," said George. "There are states that have tried that swipe card thing but we haven't tried that yet."

Salvation Army
Salvation Army (WBZ-TV)

There are the stories of the unique donations made in the kettles. A diamond-encrusted brooch worth $5,000 was dropped in one. This week in another kettle, someone left two tickets to U2 at the TD Garden. The organization is auctioning them off until 4 p.m. on Friday. Anyone interested in bidding on the tickets can call 617-308-3547 to place a bid.

It's the change that adds up. The Salvation Army has the same number of bell ringers as in previous years. George has faith people still believes in the call of the bell.

"Good feeling, good will is still there, just a cashless society," said George.

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