Salvation Army bell ringers are no longer allowed at one major retailer this Christmas. Target stores have banned the charity from soliciting in front of their stores.
Each year the Salvation Army bell ringers raise nearly $9 million dollars nationally. The money helps with disasters, boarding and food. Already this year, they're feeling the pinch.
"We do still have crews in Florida from the Tyler area. We did send a lot of supplies with them at the time so we're always looking for donations, monetary and goods to replenish what we've used from our local area," says Linda Edwards with Salvation Army.
Target stores are the second largest money earner for the bell ringers, after Walmart. But earlier this year they released this statement, "If we continue to allow the Salvation Army to solicit then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests."
Some East Texas consumers say the ban is fair. "It's always been an issue for me when I'm walking out of the store and I'm trying to get home. It's a little bit uncomfortable and when I want to give I will give," says Julia Franklin.
Others say the Salvation Army deserves an exception. "Salvation Army is a nationwide cause and it helps a lot of people in need and we never know when we're going to be in need and I know that they would always be there," says Kim Hall.
The Salvation Army says they're planning to add other locations this Christmas. They're hoping it's enough to make up the difference. Both the Salvation Army and Target stores say they are continuing to work with each other to come up with alternative ways to raise money.