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Salvation Army aiding those in need this holiday season

A mystery couple donated a half a million dollars to the Salvation Army

But she emphasized that the mall donates space for the Salvation Army to set up its Christmas kettles, so that the organization can collect donations from the public toward its Christmas Hamper program.

"We are now seeing a minimum 20 per cent increase in families needing our help from previous year", said Patty Lou Bryant, Salvation Army spokesperson.

Unfortunately so far this year, with only 13 days to go before Christmas, they have only raised $20,992 of the $72,000 goal.

The Salvation Army of Onondaga County needs just under $150,000 to fund 40 programs across the county. "So, when someone is walking by the bell ringer, please be kind and say, 'Thank You, '" said Heimbrock. "We encourage people to call in and sign up for hour".

Tina Brunswick, a single mother from Bristol, Tennessee, said the Angel Tree program is a godsend during the busy holiday season and is just the right amount of help at the right time. Bringing a friend also can make the experience more enjoyable. The firm who handles this has mailed several campaigns weeks late meaning some donors are receiving two campaigns in one week and some may be missing their letter altogether. Fewer sites mean less opportunities to receive donations. "We are always looking for more than whats expected so we can give back to our community". "I still think without Kmart, we can hit the goal, I really do".

Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson volunteered at a kettle stand Saturday at Southcentre Mall and says it's important to get out and make sure you get people in the holiday spirit. They were out in the cold this morning, loading the bikes into the trunks.

"We try to go when we know people will be there the most", Broughton said.