LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Christmas is supposed to be the season for giving, but a couple of Lubbock thieves took from one of the season's most noticeable charities. You hear the Salvation Army bell ringers at almost every store front this time of year, ringing with cheer in hopes you'll drop a few dollars in the kettle to help those in need. "There are folks on the margin that are being compromised with the downturn in the economy," said Captain Mike Morton with the Salvation Army.
Lubbock's kettle campaign is off to a good start this year. "We crested $100,000 in the kettles on Saturday," said Morton. However, that number would be a little higher if it weren't for two people who stole kettles with about $250 each. One of the kettles was from a Wal-Mart, and the other from the Salvation Army parking lot as bell ringers brought the kettles back one night.
Sherry Fuller stayed at the Salvation Army for six weeks when she first moved to Lubbock. They helped her find a job and a home, so this bell ringer knows firsthand what the organization does. "That's very sad. It really breaks my heart because if only they knew what those kettles do for other people," said Fuller.
The money stolen is only a small amount compared to the total raised, but Mortan says the Salvation Army can stretch a dollar so that money would have provided quite a bit. "In my dining room shelter, my chef over there prepares meals for the homeless. He does 100 meals a night. It costs him $1.01 a plate. Five-hundred dollars does five nights of feeding in my shelter," said Morton.
The bell ringers will continue their efforts. "When I ring that bell it reminds me of all the blessings God has given me, and it gives me joy," said Fuller.
The Salvation Army hopes the thieves will return the money, and also offers a helping hand if they want it. "It bothers me greatly. Not for my bell ringers, but for the individual that stole the kettle. That's where the real sadness lies," said Morton.
Morton says they do lock the kettles to the stands, and they've also tightened security at the Salvation Army building when bell ringers check in their kettles at night hoping to prevent something like this from happening again.
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