Grinch alert: Red Kettle money stolen from Salvation Army in Wilson County

Red Kettle money stolen from Salvation Army in Wilson County
Posted at 10:06 PM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 23:22:36-05

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's a sound you're familiar with: volunteers clanging bells raising money in red kettles for the Salvation Army's annual fundraiser.

Every dollar counts and makes a difference.

"This last year over 7,900 meals went to families in this county alone. Help with lodging? 2,861 nights of lodging this previous year provided through the work and ministry of the Salvation Army. And then we're at our location here where we run free after-school care programs," sergeant with the Salvation Army Tom Freeman said.

But a real-life Grinch broke into the Salvation Army in Wilson County and stole from the charity.

"Monday night our volunteers brought the donations in that were collected that evening. When our volunteers arrived the next morning, where that money is then taken and deposited at the bank, it had been stolen," Freeman said.

The organization in Wilson County is actually expanding its dining room to be able to feed more people. This is why it was devastating to learn that someone had broken in during construction through a window and taken off with more than $1,200.

Freeman said the iconic fundraiser brings in one-third of the budget the organization needs to keep running every year. And every dollar stays in house.

"They don't go off to some other city or some other state. They stay right local to help our struggling neighbors, so we're definitely needing the community and the support of Middle Tennessee to help us out," he said.

But there's still time for a Christmas miracle. Freeman hopes the person who took the money will return it. In the meantime, he already found it in his heart to move on.

"A lot of people are hurting and who is to say someone is not breaking in because they're desperate and I forgive them," he said.

The Lebanon Police Department is investigating this incident.

If you would like to help the Wilson County Salvation Army, you can donate HERE.

Get NewsChannel 5 Now, wherever, whenever, always free.

Watch the live stream below, and download our apps on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and more. Click here to learn more.