After a slow start, Salvation Army nears fundraising goal


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OGDENSBURG — Just three days short of Christmas, the Ogdensburg Salvation Army was worried about the outcome of its annual Kettle Drive.

The bell ringers, who stand in front of most of the community’s biggest retail outlets, were more than $22,000 short of a $52,000 goal.

Lt. Stacy McNeil and her husband, Lt. Shaun McNeil, speculated that a generous community had reached its limit after sending off money to help victims of this year’s hurricanes.

“We sent more than $20,000 to the south for hurricane relief,” Lt. Shaun McNeil said.

And, because Christmas Eve was on a Sunday this year, the drive would be ending one day early.

Lt. Stacy McNeil reached out to the Ogdensburg Journal to help get the word out on the plight of the charity.

Two days later, on Christmas Eve, while preparing turkeys for Christmas dinner, Lt. Shaun McNeil announced that the organization was within $1,000 of its goal.

“The next day,” he said, “15 people came in with checks totaling more than $11,000.”

In addition, he said, the final days of bell ringing went very well.

There are still counter kettles, sealed donations buckets on counters at smaller stores, out in the community, he said.

They will be counted just after Jan. 1, and Lt. Shaun McNeil fully expects that the goal will be reached.


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