Salvation Army bells ring despite $2 million robbery
By Kelly Snider
The Salvation Army, on Thursday, pushed forward with its seasonal drive, while questions continued about it being robbed of $2 million in toys and with one expert saying the charity will eventually recover.
Salvation Army volunteers, this week, began ringing their bells trying to collect money in local malls, on street corners, and outside stores.
Earlier this week, the agency fired the executive director of its Toronto warehouse, after an internal audit showed the charity lost millions over the course of two years, Maj. John Murray of the Salvation Army told the Toronto Star.
“This sends a very strong message that the Salvation Army is not going to sweep anything under the rug and we’re going to look into issues and allegations“ said Murray.
Murray also mentioned that food and other donations disappeared as well.
According to the Toronto Star, no charges have been laid yet.
The question is now, where will the Salvation Army turn for resources to recover their loss?
Steve Bang, a Humber business professor told Humber News toy manufactures and retail stores would help get their stock back up for the holiday season.
“Financially I think they’re okay to continue on, since it seems that whoever had access to the funds and warehouses took a little bit over the 2-3 year time period, so it didn’t leave a major negative impact on operations,” said Bang.
“The impact is being able to give money to those struggling, and it will probably take 3-4 months to get the insurance money,” he said.
According to the Toronto Star, two toy manufacturers have already announced plans to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of toys to the embattled charity. Spin Master will contribute $100,000 worth of toys and Hasbro plans to donate $250,000 in goods.
Bang said not only does the Salvation Army need to recover financially, but it will also need to repair its image.
“The most important thing is the perception now given to Salvation Army, that they don’t have a good accounting system and they’ll have to go through an audit process,” said Bang.
“It will probably take a year or two before they have a really good system in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
When it comes to future donations, Bang said people might be a little hesitant to give to the charity.
“I think short term, people will feel bad and jump on the bandwagon and put more money in the kettles to get it topped up for those in need over the holiday season,” said Bang.
“In the future people may worry because you never know where donations will go, and businesses who give big donations may wonder will this money actually end up going to those in need.”
Bang said people would be watching closely to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but these things have a tendency to be forgotten about very quickly.
“They are making all the right moves to fix this and everybody knows the Salvation Army is a great cause and having them around is a good thing for those in need.”