11-23-05 - Local charities are seriously concerned after a slow start to the holiday giving season.
Just like Rudolph or Frosty, Salvation Army bell ringers are one of the true icons of the holiday season, standing outside all day in the cold to bring out the spirit of giving in others, but this year that's something that Santa himself may have a hard time doing.
It's long hours, and as always they are ringing the bell, but this year not as many are answering it.
Hurricanes, gas prices, energy costs, they've all made money tight, money that may have otherwise ended up in the red kettle.
The kettles have been out for almost a week now and already the Salvation Army in Grayson County is $1,200 behind where they were at this point last year, a similar story across the rest of Texoma.
It's a problem that's forcing the Army to go to new lengths. This year Wal-Marts have agreed to let bell ringers outside their doors all the way up until Christmas as opposed to the 14 days they previously allowed.
But the extra ringing won't mean much if people can't find the spirit of giving.
All of the money that goes into the red kettles stays in the community in which they were donated, helping provide dinners and presents for needy families.
The Grayson County Salvation Army alone says they will have almost 50 more of those families this year than they did last year.
Wal-Mart is trying to help the cause this year. They are matching all donations that are made online and in kettles across the country.