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No bells, but Target Donates $1 million to the Salvation Army

TO many Americans, Target Corp., took on a decidedly Grinch-like appearance when it decided in 2004 to prohibit Salvation Army bell-ringers from standing outside its stores to raise money during the holiday season.

Granted, to some grumps the cheery demeanor of the bell-ringers and the tolling - or is that more of a tinkling sound? - of their bells can make them even grumpier. After all, who said that Christmas shopping should be a cheery experience?

But most Toledoans, along with the vast majority of folks in this country, we suspect, consider the army's bell-ringers as much a part of the holiday season as turkey and dressing.

Here, the first year of the bell-ringer ban by the retailer didn't have the anticipated negative impact. In fact, donations were up 3 percent over the previous year. Nationally, the army used to raise $8 million or $9 million in front of Target properties.

This year, Target is making a welcome gesture that, while it may not please everyone, should go a long way toward mending fences. The company has announced that it will make a $1 million donation to the Salvation Army, and also will provide a link on its Web sit to the charity. In addition, it is reportedly going to donate profits from a Salvation Army ornament (retail, $9.99) to the charity.

Target stopped the bell-ringers standing outside its stores to comply with its policy against soliciting. The Salvation Army had hoped that Target would change its mind on the no-bell-ringers policy, but has said that it is happy with the donation made by the retailer and welcomed "an ongoing relationship with Target."

Target is a major contributor to charities, handing out more than $2 million a week across the country, and its wish not to be seen to show favor to one charitable organization over another makes some sense. It could hardly say OK to the Salvation Army and then say "no" to the next group that wanted to solicit at its stores.

Now a situation that wasn't really in the best interests of either Target or the Salvation Army has been satisfactorily resolved.

Article published Wednesday, November 22, 2006

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