Salvation Army doing well despite retail bans |

Salvation Army doing well despite retail bans

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / South Lake Tahoe resident Damon Moore, left, donates money to the Salvation Army's red kettle as bell ringer Glenn Phillips looks on.

Despite having lost money from being pulled out of some major chain stores over the last few weeks, Salvation Army bell ringers represent a steady presence in front South Lake Tahoe stores.

The no-solicitation national ban at Mervyn’s and Target stores may have even benefited the Christian charitable organization. People may be prompted to give more after hearing the news of the Salvation Army losing $9 million from Target’s sites alone. The regional Salvation Army lost an estimated $2,500 from the temporary ban at Mervyn’s, which allowed them back on the property in Carson City a few weeks ago.

The group figured it was down $9,000 in the wake of Target banning the red-kettle bell ringers from its properties. But it’s only about $4,000 behind in comparison to last year’s tally.

Bell-ringer Glenn Phillips, who stood out in front of Raley’s at the “Y,” said he’s noticed more people dropping money into his kettle.

“If I have any extra change, I’ll pass it on (to the Salvation Army). That’s something that’s always been around. It’s weird they were kicked out,” Tyler Shewbett said, who quickly dropped some change in Phillip’s bucket when he came out of the store.

“Traditionally, this is something our customers have come to expect at Raley’s,” corporate spokeswoman Jennifer Ortega said. Bell ringers have stood in front of Raley’s 136 stores for at least the last 20 years.

On the South Shore, they can also be seen at Albertsons, Kmart, Longs and Safeway – the latter forced to revisit its no-solicitation policy a few weeks ago. The policy limits solicitors to three days in a row – with a restriction of 30 days in a calendar year.

“I think we’re seeing the more generous side (of people) because of the Target issue,” said Erica Helton, Carson City’s regional captain. “I even heard from customers who said they’d boycott Target.”

Helton has signed on South Lake Tahoe as part of its permanent operating area for the first time this year. In previous years, South Shore coverage was sporadic in having South Shore bell ringers out in November and December. The money is earmarked to fund local community needs including providing food, emergency assistance and toys.

Helton said she’s considering allowing the bell ringers to accept credit cards, as with other Salvation Army locations.

A tough year for the organization elsewhere, the Sacramento Bee reported Sunday a bell ringer had his kettle stolen in Elk Grove last weekend.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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