Bells Ring No More at Target
Holiday shoppers at Target (search) this year will notice something a little different — no ringing bells.
The discount retailing giant has decided this year not to allow the red kettles and volunteers to collect donations near its stores, despite the Salvation Army’s (search) 113-year history of doing so during the holiday season.
Citing a long-standing corporate policy banning solicitation, Target stated: "If we continue to allow the Salvation Army to solicit, then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests."
Target's decision presents a daunting challenge for the charity.
"It was a huge shock and a huge source of discouragement for us,” said Lt. David Grindle of the Salvation Army.
Last year, Target shoppers accounted for 10 percent of the $93 million collected by the charity's holiday fund-raiser.
"We have already determined that if we can’t raise that money, we will have to cut some of our services," Grindle said.
Other storeowners have stepped up to fill Target’s multimillion-dollar shoes.
John Vigeland, owner of four ShopKo stores in Green Bay, Wis., responded to a plea from the Salvation Army.
"They asked us to see if there was anything we could do, so we said, ‘Well, why don’t we start a week earlier this year,’” Vigeland said.
Bennett Weiner of the Wise Giving Alliance has a positive take on corporate bans, which his group has also suffered from.
"Even when one retailer drops out, that’s an opportunity for others to step up to the kettle, perhaps, and take up the slack,” he said.
The charity is already ringing away without the help of Best Buy (search) and Home Depot (search), which have similar fund-raising bans.
And while Target does donate millions to charity annually, it’s getting more attention for silencing the iconic bells.
Click on the video box at the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Jeff Goldblatt.