CHAMPAIGN — The Salvation Army of Champaign County has started making some budget cuts, after falling just over $46,000 short of its holiday fund drive.
After word was out last week that the organization was $59,000 short of its fund-raising goal with just days remaining before the close of the campaign, last-minute donations brought in another $12,800, Envoy Mike Fuqua said.
But ultimately, donations fell short of the $430,000 goal the Salvation Army hoped to bring in from its red kettle collections at stores and appeals through the mail during the 2011 holiday season.
Now, Fuqua is tweaking the budget to accommodate the lower donor funding.
He says no layoffs are planned among the organization's 13 full- and part-time employees — though there will be some minimal reductions in hours.
He also said he plans to delay maintenance and equipment expenses, and will try to squeeze more money — hopefully about $20,000 — out of the Salvation Army's two thrift stores at 2212 N. Market St. and 109 W. John St. in Champaign.
But he can't do that alone. That will require more advertising, more donated items from the public and more people willing to do their shopping at those stores, Fuqua said.
"We'll also have to reduce our food budget, hopefully not by much," he said.
Recipients of food from the Salvation Army include men staying in its Stepping Stone emergency shelter and needy families whose food budgets won't quite stretch far enough, Fuqua said.
Donors who couldn't afford to give dollars can help in other ways by donating unused, non-perishable canned and packaged food items. If it's something you buy for your family, the Salvation Army could probably use it, Fuqua said.
"What is really helpful are canned stews that can sit on our food shelves," he said.
In all, this year's holiday fund drive shortfall — a first for the local Salvation Army — will require the organization to be more frugal, but, Fuqua says, "the world isn't going to fall apart."
Food donations can be brought to the Salvation Army's Red Shield Center at 2212 N. Market St., C.
And while the holiday fund drive is over, financial donations are still welcome, according to Fuqua.
Financial donations can also be made in person at the North Market Street building, or sent in the mail or made online.
The mailing address is: Salvation Army of Champaign County, P.O. Box 618, Champaign, Ill. 61824.
The website: http://www.usc.salvationarmy.org/champaign . Click on the red kettle.