WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Christmas is supposed to be the season of giving, but on Monday, the opposite was true when a thief stole up to $1,400 in donations raised during the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign in Lebanon.
Sgt. Tom Freeman with the Wilson County Salvation Army told News 2 volunteers returned to headquarters after a long day of fundraising to drop off the donations, which would be deposited in the bank on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The cash never made it there.
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Freeman believes the thief likely saw an opportunity to steal because the building is currently under construction for an expansion, which means it’s less secure.
He said the suspect busted into a back window and crawled across the tables where the organization feeds children to get to the money.
“It’s not my money,” Freeman said. “It’s the community’s money that is wanting to care for their neighbors, it’s the children’s money of these programs and these neighborhoods we’re serving, and I feel like it’s God’s money.”
Funds raised during the Red Kettle Campaign make up one-third of the Wilson County Salvation Army’s annual budget. In other words, the money isn’t just used during the holiday season, but all year round.
Now, volunteers will have to work even harder to make up for the theft if they want to meet their fundraising goal of $60,000 this year.
Freeman hopes the thief will have a change of heart and return the money.
If you want to help the Wilson County Salvation Army, click here.