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Salvation Army donations to be doubled today, donations down across the region

Putting a dollar in a bell-ringer's red kettle is like donating $2 Friday and Saturday. Salvation Army donations in all of North Dakota and Minnesota from Friday and today will be doubled up to $2 million, thanks to a group of anonymous donors. "...

Jocelyn Fjellman rings a bell outside of Sam's Club in Grand Forks
Jocelyn Fjellman rings a bell outside of Sam's Club in Grand Forks Friday in the final days of this year's kettle drive. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Putting a dollar in a bell-ringer's red kettle is like donating $2 Friday and Saturday.

Salvation Army donations in all of North Dakota and Minnesota from Friday and today will be doubled up to $2 million, thanks to a group of anonymous donors.

"It's a great opportunity for Grand Forks to get what we need to help people," said Maj. Johnathan Fjellman, Grand Forks Salvation Army administrator.

The $2 million is the largest matching gift in Salvation Army history, he said.

Salvation Army Christmas Campaign donations have been down in both North Dakota and Minnesota this year. The Grand Forks Salvation Army is down about $25,000 in donations from this time last year, Fjellman said.

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He guessed the weather may have something to do with the decrease in donations. "The trouble is it's been so cold out here this year, so people can't ring" bells near the kettles, he said.

Fjellman added that he doesn't think as many people carry cash anymore, opting for debit and credit cards, which can't be put in red kettles.

Not just kettles

But there are other ways to donate to the Salvation Army, which will also be doubled today.

Donations can be given online at SalvationArmyNorth.org, over the phone at (800) 725-2769 or by delivering a check to The Salvation Army, 1600 University Ave., Grand Forks.

Also, Hugo's and Valley Dairy stores in Grand Forks offer the option for customers to add a donation to their bill, Fjellman said.

"No matter how you donate -- at a kettle, online, by phone or in person -- every dollar you give will be matched," Fjellman said.

All Salvation Army locations keep their donations local. In Grand Forks, the donations go toward many programs, such as food assistance, utility assistance, medical assistance and emergency disaster relief.

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The Grand Forks Salvation Army raises about a third of its budget through the Christmas Campaign, Fjellman said. Its programs help about 8,000 people per year.

The Salvation Army encourages those donating at kettles to take pictures of themselves showing a peace sign, or what the nonprofit is calling "a sign of north land generosity," and post photos to the Salvation Army's social media sites, @salarmynorth on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyNorth .

In addition to raising money through its Christmas Campaign, the Salvation Army takes nonperishable food donations as well, Fjellman said.

Call Haley at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1102; or send email to chaley@gfherald.com .

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