HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. — Outside the Happy Valley Fred Meyer Thursday night, shoppers were treated to the sounds of the season, captured by the Salvation Army Band. Those who trained their ears on the highest register could also hear the sound of giving—Salvation Army bells— beckoning people to a red donation kettle.

“Even if they don't give, just to see the smiles on their faces as they walk through is great,” Captain Matthew Madsen of the Gresham Salvation Army said.

Madsen said the Salvation Army still needed to raise $500,000 this season to match the $750,000 it raised last year in the Portland Metro area.

“Without that funds coming in, we can't do what we do all year long,” said Madsen.

Madsen said local red kettle donations are down a bit. That goes for Salvation Armies across the country. The reasons vary and aren't always clear, but Madsen had some theories.

“You know, we are turning into a cashless society,” said Madsen. “So, we're looking at donating online. If you go to www.portland.salvationarmy.org, you can designate your gift to go to whatever part of metro area you're in.”

Many people like shopper, Thomas Vance, still make a point of digging into their pockets when they see red kettles.

“The Salvation Army, they do good things for helping other people,” said Vance. “I just want to be a little part of it.”

Madsen promised the Salvation Army would continue to do the most good with every gift it receives, big or small.

“When you put money in there, it makes change happen,” he said.