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Karen Mansfield/Observer-Reporter

Salvation Army Washington Corps Capt. Amber Imhoff holds a box containing turkey and other Thanksgiving food items as part of the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner distribution to area families in need in this November photo.

The Salvation Army fell just short of its Red Kettle campaign’s fundraising goal in Western Pennsylvania this holiday season, but exceeded its target in Washington, thanks to a last-minute donation from the Washington County Community Foundation.

The local campaign in Washington County had hoped to raise $65,000 during the holidays, but had only reached about $44,000 due to fewer kettles being placed outside stores with a smaller number of bell-ringers available this season.

But the Salvation Army received a late Christmas gift on Monday when the Washington County Community Foundation provided the nonprofit with a $50,000 grant to help it meet its Red Kettle goal, along with additional money needed for additional emergency services.

The local branch was already stretched thin after spending about $30,000 over the past three weeks to pay for the hotel rooms of about 30 residents who were displaced after the Dec. 23 fire at Thomas Campbell Apartments in South Strabane damaged numerous units. So the money from the Community Foundation will allow the Salvation Army to continue helping residents who still need housing, while also providing them with bedding and welcome home packages when they are able to return to their apartments.

“They were able to give us a grant for the amount we were missing and then some,” said Capt. Amber Imhoff of the Salvation Army in Washington. “We were very blessed, needless to say. It was a miracle. (The Community Foundation) pushed us over the last stretch, so we’ll be able to serve well in this community.”

She added that the organization is now working with Blueprints in Washington to help displaced residents apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program that offers financial help for people who are struggling to pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re in really good shape,” she said. “A few more people will be housed over the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army fell just short of its overall fundraising expectations in Western Pennsylvania, raising about $2.2 million, which was about $200,000 less than its goal. The organization attributed the lower fundraising figures due to a lack of volunteer and paid bell-ringers as the pandemic continued through the winter, along with general staff shortages that have plagued the nation.

But both Greene and Fayette counties were in line with their localized goals. The Greene County Service Center raised $42,253, which was $750 below its goal, while Fayette County exceeded expectations by nearly $3,500 after raising $68,465 this year.

“We are incredibly grateful for the community’s ongoing support as we work to raise the funds needed to continue to lift up the most vulnerable people in our neighborhoods across the region,” said Maj. Gregory Hartshorn, who serves as the divisional commander for the Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania.

He added that people can continue to donate online at www.salvationarmywps.org to help the organization throughout the year.

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