The local branch of the Salvation Army is hurting financially and is asking for donations to match a large, anonymous gift.

The Independence Corps of the Salvation Army counts heavily on Christmastime giving to raise money toward its $1.6 million budget. About half of that budget is for the Crossroads Shelter on Truman Road, the only homeless shelter in Eastern Jackson County. The group also runs a food pantry, after-school programs and other activities.

“Most and primarily we use the money (raised at Christmas) to help people at Christmastime,” said Major Butch Frost.

But the famous red kettles outside local stores came up short this year. The group had counted on holiday fundraising of $280,000 but missed that by $45,000.

Frost said $45,000 might not sound like all that much, “but it seems like a lot when you’re running a 24/7 shelter.”

Now an anonymous donor is offering a dollar-for-dollar match in donations, up to a total of $300,000, through Jan. 31. That’s helpful, Frost said, because after Jan. 31 he might have to looking at cutting services.

To give, send to Salvation Army of Independence, 14700 E. Truman Road, Independence, Mo., 64050, or call Christi Campos at 816-252-3200, ext. 105.

Frost pointed out that the Independence Corps serves all of Eastern Jackson County, and he said people in need live in all of the area’s communities, so his appeal is to everyone.

“There’s a good chance that their neighbors next door or around the corner have been to our office for assistance,” he said.