By Brian New

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A late start to the holiday season and an ice storm have put the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Drive in North Texas more than a $500K behind schedule.

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“There really has been a perfect storm that has caused our kettles to be down,” said Major Ward Matthews. “We knew with Thanksgiving as late as it could possibly be, we would have five fewer bell ringing days to start with. Then when the storm hit, the bottom just fell out.“

Matthews said he’s already preparing in case he’s forced to make budget cuts come the first of the year.

Adding to the setback, the ice storm also put a chill on Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Toy Drive.

This year for the first time in recent memory, the Salvation Army will have to dip into its general fund to purchase toys for nearly 3,000 needy kids that weren’t covered by donations.

However, Matthews said he believes in the goodness of people and is optimistic donors will help offset the slow start.

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The money from the Red Kettle Drive makes up more than 5-percent of the Salvation Army’s annual budget.  The money is used to pay for after school programs in its nine DFW community centers. It’s also used to help people with food and emergency financial assistance.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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