SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – The Upstate New York division of the Salvation Army is asking the community for some extra help before the end of the year because of a sluggish start to their annual fundraiser.
Jeremy Miller with the Salvation Army Empire State Division blames it on the late Thanksgiving this year, which cost them about five days of bell ringing. Bad weather is another factor, as is changing consumer patterns.
“It’s not like it used to be,” Miller said. ‘People are shopping online more and more and having it delivered.”
But another potential reason for the decline in donations could be the increasing scrutiny the Salvation Army has come under in recent years for past incidences of discrimination involving members of the LGBTQ community. Chik-Fil-A recently announced that it would no longer donate to the church, which some say is anti-LGBTQ.
Miller says that’s not true and their members don’t ask anyone to agree with their theology.
“We don’t give them a litmus test beforehand,” He said. “If somebody comes to us and they’re hungry, we are going to feed them. If somebody comes to us and they’re cold, we are going to clothe them. If they need a place to sleep, we are going to shelter them.”
The Salvation Army says it provides help to more than 225,000 people in upstate every year.