Saying it has raised about $500,000 less than it had by this time last year, the Twin Cities Salvation Army has called for more donations and volunteer bell ringers in the metro for the holiday season.

Major Jeff Strickler, Twin Cities commander for the Salvation Army, said the group has an “ambitious but achievable goal” of pulling together $11.6 million by Christmas. It will need some help; it has raised only $1.6 million so far, down from $2.1 million at this time last year.

The Salvation Army is seeking volunteers to sign up for one of 575 kettle locations online at The average kettle raises $30 an hour, the organization says.

Stephen Montemayor