WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – It's the season of giving – but one group is finding it a little harder to get donations this year.
The Salvation Army reports that donations to its red kettle are down this year.
Major Richard Watts says images from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy have donors sending their money to the relief efforts.
"We've had checks made out to the Salvation Army and in the lower left corner, they write, ‘disaster' or ‘hurricane' and 100% of that money goes straight to disaster relief in that area so that does affect donations."
He hopes people remember to give to their hometown too.
This year, the Salvation Army will help 20,000 families in our area making their holidays a little brighter.
Another reason Major Watts says donations are down, he believes people are carrying less cash and change nowadays.
That's why they'll have credit card readers at three kettles this year.
They first tried the card readers last year. While Major Watts said they weren't a huge success, he said they helped.
"We are going to give them another shot and see what they can do," he said. "Just whip out that gold card and scan it and that's all there is to it."
Major Watts also said historically, years when there's a presidential election, donations drop off too.
He thinks that's because people are giving to campaigns instead of charities.
Last year, the Salvation Army helped 17,000 people in Wilmington.
Major Watts believes there are more people on the list this year because they were more proactive in seeking families in need.
For those in need, the deadline has already passed to apply for help from the charity but Major Watts says they do make some exceptions for special cases.
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