Charitable Donations: Where Does the Money Go?

It's easy to find non-profits asking for your help during the month of December.  The bells, buckets, and aprons make The Salvation Army one of the most noticeable charities leading up to Christmas.  After people cram the kettles with cash and coins, it goes to those in need.  But what exactly does it pay for?

"It really depends on the need in the community.  You know this year, the need in the community really looks like the gifts for the children," said Captain Bill Shafer

Shafer says donations all go into a general fund.  There's no set-in-stone way to divide the money for different items; if they need a certain amount of food, toys, or Christmas baskets, that's where the money goes.  Only 18% the funds go to administrative costs.

 Texoma kettle donations do help out close to home.  All the money collected stays local

"The people donate here in Wichita Falls.  They expect it to help the people in Wichita Falls, and it does," Shafer said.

The Salvation Army gets lots of volunteer help to collect the money.  Churches, The Rotary Club, and teachers' groups have all pitched in.  Today people from Sheppard Air Force Base were ringing bells for the cause.

"I'm real amazed," said volunteer Tina McCausey.  "You know, I've always been on the other side and gave a little here and there, and I'm real surprised.  People put in some pretty sizable amounts."

Shafer says if you do want to specifically direct your donation to a certain category, you can either write it in on a check, or you can use the angel trees.  By grabbing a card with a child's name on it, you can purchase all the gifts on their wish list and donate them directly, too.

The kettles, though, definitely pull their own weight.

"This year our goal for kettles is $95,000.  It's a little more than our goal for last year and our kettle workers, the community, everybody's doin' a great job out there and if the weather holds up and God-willing, we'll reach that goal," Shafer said.

You can find angel trees at Wal-mart locations and at Sikes Senter Mall.  The Wal-mart on I-44 started out with two 8-foot angel trees, but people have already taken care of so many lists that the remaining ones are on one 6-foot tree.

Spencer Blake, Newschannel 6