They did it.  The 2014 Rochester Salvation Army Red Kettle drive ended at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve and last minute donations pushed the total over the goal of $400,000.

from Rochester Salvation Army

The preliminary figure was put at $406,000.  Last year’s drive had a record total of $434,000.

The Salvation Army gives much of the credit for reaching the goal to the hundreds of volunteers who manned kettles and rang bells during the drive that began in early November. More than 2,000 volunteers signed up this year, including some who put in more than 100 hours.

“This has been an all-out effort by our staff, advisory board and the thousands of volunteers who give so generously of their time at Christmas,” said Major Jim Frye, corps officer. “Reaching this milestone is also a result of kettle challenge match businesses and individuals who humble us with their support and generosity, and by the countless kettle donors who entrust their dollars to the Rochester Salvation Army to do the most good.”

The final four days of the 2014 Red Kettle ringing included $41,500 in challenge matches that put the first target within reach. Late, additional challenges by Knutson Construction and Restovich-Braun & Associates were added to the $10,000 challenges by Rochester Motor Cars, Think Mutual Bank, Henry and Jeanne Brandt Family Challenge Match and one anonymous family foundation.

A final tally of the Red Kettle portion of the 2014 campaign will occur by early next week due to the Christmas holiday.

The Rochester Salvation Army has until Wednesday, Dec. 31 to solicit and encourage mailed and online gifts, and to take in tax deductible donations at its Community Center located at 20 NE 1st Avenue in downtown Rochester.

Donations to the 2014 Red Kettle/Christmas Campaign stay local to fund important social services programs that meet human needs. Over 80 percent of these dollars are invested back into local food, housing, medical and dental care, family caregiver respite and other programs and services.