By Ryan Lengerich
David Garza sported a red baseball cap and matching windbreaker jacket Tuesday, each donning the Salvation Army logo.
He stood at Wal-Mart’s south entrance in Clovis, ringing the organization’s famous bell and collecting donations. He said he doesn’t count how much people give — he is happy with anything.
“You feel good inside, people are smiling and having a good holiday,” Garza said.
The Salvation Army is on the homestretch of the five-week holiday campaign. Capt. Tammy Ray, the organization’s co-director, said she is pleased with efforts in Portales and Clovis.
“It’s been amazing, (the area) is really coming through,” said Ray, who became director in July.
The organization is currently operating three fund-raising programs: The Empty Stocking Fund, direct mail and kettles.
Combined the programs have raised about $25,000 so far this year. Last year the organization raised about $43,000, according to figures provided by the organization.
Ray said kettle donations this year stand at 43 percent of the last year’s roughly $27,000 total. She said kettle workers will work longer hours because donations are expected to increase as Christmas nears.
“People become more conscience as Christmas approaches,” she said.
Seven employees work the six kettle stations between the two cities, Ray said. Portales has one at Wal-Mart and five more are spread throughout Clovis.
In some cities across the nation, the Salvation Army has begun accepting credit and debit cards at kettle stations. Ray said her organization does not have the technology to handle credit cards at kettle locations, but those wishing to donate via credit or debit card may visit the main building.
Another issue nationwide is safety. Two men were recently arrested in Allentown, Pa., on charges of swiping the money from a kettle worker at gunpoint. The guns turned out to be BB guns.
“You hear a story like that every year,” Ray said, adding that she has not heard of any such situations in the Clovis area.
Garza said he was nervous about safety five years ago, when he began working the kettles. But now he enjoys his job.
“It’s just laughs, happy holidays and that is all I can say,” Garza said.