The Salvation Army's trademark bell ringers and red kettles are back full-time outside Giant grocery stores and customers are happy about it.
Last year, Giant drastically slashed the number of ringable hours allotted to the salvation army, saying other charities needed the chance to solicit, too.
But it was a public relations disaster for Giant and a financial disaster for the Salvation Army: Red kettle collections at area giants plunged 60 percent.
“It became clear at the end of the year that that policy change did have an unintended consequence,” says Giant spokesman Jamie Miller.
So they are back eight hours a day, every day, except Sunday.
“Our target this year is $1.6 million,” says Ken Forsythe of the Salvation Army. “We're pretty optimistic that we're gonna get there.”
Cheryl Tally is experiencing her first year manning the kettle.
“Salvation Army is a good cause, and this organization helps a lot of people who are in need--not just around the holiday time, but all year round,” Tally says.
As for the other charities, officials say they'll get their shot from January through October.