More credit card users means fewer donations for Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign

BISMARCK, N.D. - Salvation Army bell ringers have become as much a part of the Christmas season as Santa.

In some areas of the country, the street corner volunteer fundraisers take credit cards.

All around there are donated items for children in the Bismarck-Mandan community to enjoy Christmas.

The items range from clothing to bikes for parents to choose from.

Compared to other years, Salvation Army volunteers say this year's toy drive is the biggest they've seen.

"For 480 plus children, this means that they'll have a Christmas," said volunteer Cindy Vollmer.

Every child goes home with a new outfit, toys and an afghan to unwrap on Christmas Eve.

Major John Flanagan says donations have been overwhelming this year, but their Red Kettle Campaign is struggling, because it’s now a plastic world.

"We'd have to buy individual machines for each kettle stand. They're quite expensive, and then you'd have to have a wireless system set up where you can have that little machine communicate with a company," said Major John Flanagan.

That's why the Salvation Army has experimented with credit card machines on their kettle stands in other states, but it's not the most cost effective choice in this area, because each device costs about $700.

“They just wouldn't work out, they're just too expensive," said Flanagan.

The money that's raised with the Red Kettles goes to the Salvation Army's work they've been doing in the community.

If you'd like to donate money or items you can go to the Salvation Army Headquarters on South Washington in Bismarck.