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Brainerd Salvation Army reaches its goal

Holiday giving and the spirit that this time of year tends to bring certainly helped out the Brainerd Salvation Army.

“We (the Brainerd Salvation Army) were worried we weren’t going to make our goal and were becoming concerned,” said Capt. Scott Strissel of the organization’s struggle to reach its annual kettle goal. “But the community generosity has been great.”

Previously short of its $117,000 goal for 2012, Strissel said the organization “saw a wonderful outpouring” of support from the community, helping the Salvation Army not only reach its goal but surpass it. Strissel said the total as of Dec. 24 was $135,000.

“After running an ad in the (Brainerd) Dispatch, we saw a substantial amount of donations come in,” Strissel said. “And it’s wonderful that the community helped us reach this goal.”

Brainerd, according to an Associated Press story, was one of the bright spots where Salvation Army goals were met or almost met.

Elsewhere, officials with the Salvation Army’ Northern Division said the recession continued to make a dent in donations in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Spokeswoman Annette Bauer says mailed donations are still being counted, but overall the division has collected $15.5 million — $2 million short of its goal.

Bauer says for the region’s smaller cities, the seasonal fund raising accounts for about 70 percent of their budgets.

She says Fargo, N.D., has a goal of $890,000, but is about $100,000 short.

Rochester set a $1 million goal and has raised $820,000.

The Twin Cities is about $700,000 below its goal of $9.8 million.

Other areas where the Salvation Army goals were either met, exceeded or almost met included Austin, Cloquet, Fairmont, Willmar, Fergus Falls and Williston, N.D., the Associated Press reported.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).