SAVOY, Ill. (WCIA) — “There are people here who survive literally survive based on the services that you get from the Salvation Army, so it’s a big deal,” Randall Summit said.
A lot of those services are paid for with donations from the red kettle campaign. There are almost two dozen kettles across Central Illinois during the holiday season. This week, one of those spots was targeted.
“Literally had to pick up the base, the pole, the bucket, the sign, and all of it and put it into a vehicle,” Summit said.
Major Randall Summit with the Salvation Army confirmed it happened just before 5 p.m.
He says the buckets are locked to prevent people from taking money, but the bucket itself is locked to the stand making a theft like this difficult. Summit says the Savoy location usually collects between $400 and $500 dollars a day. The situation is not stopping them from continuing their mission this holiday season.
“Our goal this year is $155,000 and that’s actual money out of every single one of those buckets,” Summit said.
Staff and other volunteers are assigned to each location and start in the morning.
“It makes me feel happy because I hadn’t done this before,” Harris said.
Felix Harris isn’t alone.
“Those who are well off, we have average working people that are a part of those clubs as well, we have other people who are retired, I mean so all sorts, so the volunteers are just amazingly important to us,” Summit said.
Around 5:30 p.m. every day, the buckets are picked up and the money is calculated and deposited at the bank.
For Summit, red kettles have become a staple of the holiday season.
“It’s part of the celebration everywhere, that’s why there’s songs, silver bells and all these other stuff about, those songs all talk about the experience of hearing that and making us think of Christmas,” Summit said.
Those bells bring Harris back to his childhood.
“Happy because when you ring a bell, it brings back memories when I was little, you hear that bell, you know you’re getting presents or something,” Harris said.
The Salvation Army also told WCIA they collected a gold coin from one of the kettles in Champaign County. They say it’s worth $400.
Anyone with information regarding the stolen kettle is asked to call the Champaign County Sheriff’s office.