AUTHOR: Slublog DATE: 11/10/2004 09:12:00 AM ----- BODY: Limiting the Army - A major from the local Salvation Army was on the radio this morning, and said many stores in Bangor had limited the time that bell-ringers could solicit for funds outside stores. At most stores, bell-ringers will only be allowed to put out the kettle for two weeks. This could cost the Salvation Army about $20,000 in donations. To be fair to the local stores, most of the decisions are made at the corporate level, and some store managers are just as unhappy with the decision as the Salvation Army. The major didn't want to disclose which stores had limited the Army's access to their doors, but from what I can tell, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Target are among the offending corporations. Their rationale is that if they allow the Salvation Army to solicit, every non-profit in the area will be forced to have equal access to the prime solitication spot. Nonsense. The Salvation Army provides food, clothing and other necessities to those who cannot afford them. They are an organization dedicated to helping others and do so with minimal administrative costs. The bell-ringing campaign is the major fundraiser for the Army, and a familiar part of holiday shopping. Stores are private corporations and should have the right to do what they want with their property, but at the same time, customers who feel strongly should communicate their displeasure with these businesses and ask that the Salvation Army be given the opportunity to continue raising funds. At the very least, they should be shamed into helping make up the difference between what the Army was able to raise last year and what it will raise this year under the current restrictions. If you want to help the Salvation Army, visit them at NetKettle.com and donate online. Also, call Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Target and let them know their corporate policy is wrongheaded and they should allow the red kettles to once again grace the front doors. --------