TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- With Christmas less than three weeks away, the Salvation Army still has a long way to go.
The organization announced on Friday that its Red Kettle drive just past a quarter of the way to its $200,000 goal. They're more than halfway through bell-ringing season and have just 16 more days left to reach their objective.
"The money raised at Christmas not only assists in providing food and toys for those in need at Christmas time, but it is part of the fundraising effort for over 25% of our yearly budget," said Major Brian Burkett.
The Salvation Army uses the money to provide social services, including hot nutritious meals, to low-income men, women, and children. In 2012, the organization says it serve nearly 16,000 meals.
They mentioned the story of one man who came into eat over Thanksgiving. Wet from the rain, he was sitting next to the volunteer when he was served his meal and started to cry.
"You don't know how long it's been since I haven't eaten alone on Thanksgiving," he told the volunteer.
The Salvation Army also uses the donations to provide other services, like rent and utility assistance for families with eviction and disconnection notices. They run a food pantry, offer prescription assistance, eye exams, and glasses to people who qualify.
They even run a child care center for toddlers and preschoolers to ensure every child has the opportunity for a good early childhood education at a reasonable cost.
"As our biggest fundraiser of the year, it is imperative that we make our goal so that our social service and child care programs are sustainable throughout the year," added Burkett.