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Salvation Army Santa Banned from Target

By Kayla Smith Tarbox
On October 7, 2004

Plymouth, N.H.-Target, one of the nation's largest retailers has banned Salvation Army's volunteer workers from ringing their bells and collecting donations in their kettles outside of the retail stores.

The Salvation Army has collected an average of 9 million dollars in donations from Target's customers last year. This ban has expected to limit services that the Salvation Army can provide to the needy.

Salvation Army is concerned that their organization will be jeopardized in a symbolic sense. The red kettle and the bell ringers have been a Christmas icon for many retailers. They are also concerned for many of the volunteer workers for Salvation Army as well as many other members in the community who receive assistance from the organization. Donations are expected to suffer.

The Target Corporation claims the reason for the ban is a strict "no solicitation" policy that all of their stores must abide by. Carolyn Brookter, a member of the media department at Target's head quarters, said in a statement, "we receive an increasing number of solicitation inquires from non-profit organizations each year, and determined that if we continue to allow the Salvation Army to solicit then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests."

While the store does not allow solicitors, there is still a lot of fund raising that occurs within the store. Brookter comments, "The decision [to ban Salvation Army] does not diminish Target Corporation's commitment to its communities. Target has one of the largest corporate philanthropy programs in America."

Target is a hip retailer that sells discount designer brands. They go out of their way to advertise to a modern crowd. The Salvation Army Santa Claus didn't coincide with Target's image. Target may lose some customers, as there is speculation of boycotts against the retailer.

Kevin Wagner, store manager of the Plymouth Wal-Mart says [Wal-Mart] doesn't need to make an exception to the solicitation rule for non-profit organizations because the Salvation Army, and others, doesn't sell anything. They are raising money to improve the community. Salvation Army bell ringers bring in an estimated 14 million dollars a year outside of Wal-Mart.

The Salvation Army bell ringers is not the only non-profit organization welcome outside of Wal-Mart but many organizations such as local high schools, the Leukemia Society, and the Girl Scouts.


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