The Pekin Salvation Army fell short of its $200,000 Christmas Campaign goal that it needed to maintain all of the programs it currently operates in Tazewell County.

Major Kim Ray said Tuesday, the Red Kettle Campaign, which ended Christmas Eve, and the annual mail appeal brought in $175,010.

The mail appeal goes through Jan. 15. Donations may be mailed to the Salvation Army, 243 Derby St., Pekin, IL 61554.

“We will be really praying for the next 15 days or so,” said Kim Ray.

The future of the Rust Transitional Center’s operations hinges on the outcome of the campaign — whether it will remain a 24/7 shelter for women and children and whether the men’s six-bed shelter will remain open.

The shelter has been running at a deficit for a few years, said Major Rick Ray. Salvation Army officials said prior to the campaign, the shelter programs could be honed back if the $200,000 need was not met. Rick Ray said the board will meet and decisions will have to be made.

“Things are a lot tighter than we need them to be,” said Rick Ray. “We can’t keep spending what we don’t have.”

In total, 1,392 people stayed in the shelter this year and 111,036 meals were provided for them. The shelter was closed for four months this year for renovations. The Salvation Army opened the women/children section in October and the men’s section opened later when the frigid weather hit, in good faith that the goal would be met. It is currently at capacity.

Rick Ray said volunteer hours were down this year. Last year, volunteers rang bells for approximately 600 hours. This year came in at fewer than 500 hours.

“I don’t know if it was the weather or what,” said Rick Ray. “I’m just not sure.

“We did have some very cold weather.”

Rick Ray said two years ago that he wanted to build the Red Kettle Campaign volunteers numbers so that money would not be spent on paid volunteers. This year, many hours passed at the 11 stores where bellringers were supposed to be with nobody there.

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