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Salvation Army Kicks Off Holiday Season With Red Kettle Campaign

The Fort Wayne Salvation Army is kicking off the holiday season with their Red Kettle Campaign. This year the organization says they hope to raise $265,000 dollars.
"At this time of year, a parent isn't just looking for an outfit or a toy for their child. They're looking for a little bit of hope." - Jama Smith
The Fort Wayne Salvation Army is kicking off the holiday season with their Red Kettle Campaign. This year the organization says they hope to raise $265,000 dollars but some employees with the charity are concerned that the rising cost of health insurance will impact fundraising this year.

Starting this week, the Salvation Army is placing about 50 kettles around town in front of grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses.  Hundreds of volunteers are expected to ring the bell to raise donations benefiting those in need this holiday season.

Jama Smith, Director of Resource Department says, "At this time of year, a parent isn't just looking for an outfit or a toy for their child.  They're looking for a little bit of hope. A lot of our applicants who have come through, they haven't been in this situation before so they're reaching out to see if someone will reach back and just give them hope this season. That they're going through this but they're not going through it alone."

The Kettle Campaign goal this year is to raise $265,000 dollars.  Some employees are concerned rising health care costs as well as employers cutting back hours may impact fundraising this holiday season.

"There are still a lot of people who are being affected by the economy not doing as well as we would like. There are still a lot of folks unemployed, so this gives us an opportunity to help these families out particularly during the holidays by providing food and clothing for their children."

Residents are hopeful that the giving spirit will remain strong this time of year.

Dennis Jordan says, "I think people around Fort Wayne, around Indiana, around the nation, they'll give.  It's the American way."

Michael Brevard says, "I don't think there will be a major difference.  You have insurance and you have people with hearts.  If you have a good heart you're going to give regardless."

Others say they're expecting higher health care costs to impact their finances.

Jeremiah Hembree, a Jiffy Lube Employee says, "Whenever I have a few bucks in my pocket, I hand that out, I don't know this year.  I don't know if I will, I got to save it.  I have to provide Christmas for my own family and friends."

Jeremiah has worked at Jiffy Lube since September and doesn't want to pay for health insurance.  Under the Affordable Care Act, he is required to enroll under a health care plan before March 31st. Hembree expects he will soon have to pay $150 dollars per month under his work's health care plan.

"That's pretty hard when you're making minimum wage and living from check to check to begin with and when your check gets hit so hard by something that's forced onto you, you really don't want it."
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