The Salvation Army Capital Region Corps is more than $16,000 behind its campaign goal compared to last year at this time, the organization announced Wednesday.

Local Salvation Army officials are hoping for a surge in donations to reach the $90,000 Red Kettle Campaign goal to cover increased demands for Christmas assistance. A news release said falling short of the goal may have a long-term effect on programs and services.

The Capital Region group serves people in Augusta, Hallowell, Chelsea, Sidney, Waterville and Winslow. The organization partnered with St. Michael School in Augusta and distributed toys and other gifts to 180 local families, thanks to donations collected by employees at VA Maine Healthcare System-Togus.

The Salvation Army’s Christmas ministry in Maine includes distributing toys to needy children, food baskets and vouchers, warm winter coats and more. Last year, the organization assisted almost 42,000 people, including more than 15,000 during the holiday season, across Maine.

There are 130 kettles located at various businesses and shopping plazas around the state. Donations also may be made online at redkettlereason.org.

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