Target Kicks Out Salvation Army Bell-ringers

Target shoppers won’t be hearing the sound of bells ringing or a polite “Thank You” when they contribute to Salvation Army Kettle Drive this holiday season. The Salvation Army expects the enforcement of Target Corp’s non-solicitation policy to hurt projected donations and cutback the ministry’s services to the community.

The Salvation Army collected nearly $9 million nationwide through the holiday appeal.

“We receive an increasing number of solicitation inquiries from nonprofit organizations each year and determined that if we continue to allow The Salvation Army to solicit, then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests,” Target said in a statement. Target had informed The Salvation Army of the change back in January.

"We have spent the past nine months attempting to persuade Target to reverse this decision, and we were not able to do so," the Salvation Army's Maj. George Hood, secretary for national community relations, wrote in an e-mail.

The decision will force many Salvation Army locations to reduce services to make ends meet. The Salvation Army in Metro Detroit has already suffered $1million in income cutbacks this year and will lose the $220,671 in potential donations it collected last year at Target, which can fund 6,000 meals.

“We’re going to lose 112 days of food service for the hungry because of (Target’s) decision,” Russ Russell, Salvation Army executive director of development, told The Detroit News.

Although Target’s no-solicitation policy for its 1,100 stores nationwide is not new, Target has always made an exception for The Salvation Army. Now, the ministry must take its kettle campaign which raises up to 70 percent of the Salvation Army's total annual income, elsewhere such as Wal Mart and Kroger.

Donations for the Army fund shelters, meal programs, Christmas toys, after-school programs and emergency assistance.

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