This weekend will be vital for the Havre Salvation Army.
Volunteers will staff four of the red kettles around town, hoping to raise enough money for the Salvation Army’s major emergency programs.
As the Salvation Army heads into the final weekend of the Christmas shopping season, it is $2,500 below the amount of money it received last year.
Salvation Army officials are hoping that shoppers will help out by being generous.
Trina Crawford, the Army’s social services director, said the money collected at the kettle locations funds emergency programs year round.
The money helps people who need food, payments for utilities and rent.
“For these people, we are the last resort, ” she said.
People get help paying their bills only if they have received a cut-off notice from the utility company. Rent assistance is available for people who have received an eviction notice.
Crawford said this has been a successful year in attracting volunteers to the bell-ringing operation.
“The volunteers have stepped forward, ” she said. “They seem to be enjoying themselves. ”
“People say ‘We are seeing so many people we don’t usually see, ’” she said.
There have been some interesting donations.
One person dropped an 1896 dollar coin in mint condition into the kettle staffed by volunteer Bonnie Bennett at Gary & Leo’s Fresh Foods. No one knows who made the contribution.
Crawford said the coin is worth a least $35. Similar donations have been made in the past, she said.
But she said she hopes more money will be dropped into the kettles this weekend.
“People have been very generous, ” she said.
Kettles will be up all weekend, but they will shut down at about 2 p. m. Monday.
“Our volunteers have worked very hard, ” she said. “We want them to be able to leave and be with their families on Christmas Eve.