A note and cash were left at the Salvation Army Wednesday morning after a man took one of the charity’s well-known red kettles, and the money inside it, from the Southern Park Mall.
“Here is the money I took plus money for a new kettle and bell. I’m sorry. Please forgive me,” read the note left on the charity’s Glenwood Avenue location, along with $130.
Boardman police were called to the mall about 6 p.m. Monday when a Salvation Army volunteer returned from a break and was told by employees of the business that watched the kettle that a man wearing a red Salvation Army jacket approached the counter and collected it.
Police said no one saw who left the note and money at the Salvation Army; the individual who took the kettle may have been caught on security cameras.
It is not known how much money was in the kettle when it was stolen, said Major Elijah Kahn, coordinator of the local Salvation Army.
“It’s unfortunate that someone, out of desperation, felt the need to steal one of our red kettles. The kettles collect donations that help individuals and families in need in our community.
“Likely, had the person responsible for this crime come to The Salvation Army and asked for help, he would have received it. Joblessness, drug addiction, hunger and being homeless are all challenges The Salvation Army deals with daily. We are here to help, just ask. There is no reason to commit such a crime,” Kahn said.
The Salvation Army of Mahoning County last year provided direct services to 81,212 individuals. It served 36,382 meals, provided 7,862 Christmas assistance and vouchers to individuals and families and the elderly, 319 back to school back packs, 16,566 toys distributed to needy children, 5,835 youth and children participated in character development, life skills, music and structured recreation activities; 1,123 seniors participated in a senior citizen program; and 20 institutions and 1,336 residents were visited by officers and volunteers of The Salvation Army.
Contributions such as those raised during the annual red kettle campaign are what make this possible, Kahn said.