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State of emergency: Salvation Army needs to raise $300K by Jan. 31 or services may be cut

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Salvation Army red kettles

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County’s “Red Kettle” campaign is in a state of emergency. Officials said Thursday, Jan. 25 the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County is at risk of cutting several programs and services if they do not raise $300,000 by Jan. 31.

As of Jan. 25, donors have generously given $3.5 million; the goal is $3.8 million. Donations have been received from red kettles, mail-in donations, mail appeals, major gifts, online donations and special events. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised is used to support programs and services in Milwaukee County. This would be the first time in 12 years that the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County hasn’t met the goal, officials said.

“If we do not reach our goal, we will have to make some very difficult decisions,” said Major Steven Merritt in a press release. “Without proper funding, we will not be able to support all 80 programs and services we provide in Milwaukee County. That may mean cutting crucial people-helping programs.”

According to Salvation Army officials, 2017 was a unique year for fundraising, as thousands of donors also supported The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County’s fundraising efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

“We raised $800,000 in Milwaukee County for national disasters last year,” Merritt said. “For disasters, we do not keep any money locally. One hundred percent of those donations go directly to the area in need.”

Money raised during the Red Kettle Campaign stays locally to help area men, women and children.

How you can help:

  • By mail, send in a check: The Salvation Army, 11315 W. Watertown Plank Road, Wauwatosa, WI 53226
  • Text “Milwaukee” to 41444
  • Donate online at
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