"I really think it's a wonderful organization," Castagna said of The Salvation Army. "I feel an obligation to contribute to that organization and to help them out in any way that I can."
Castagna has been doing business in Newburyport since 1989 and has lived in town for the past eight years.
"I was raised by a middle-American, middle-income family, and donations were limited to what we can do," Castagna said. "But I've tried to give a little bit back to my community since I've had some success in business, and I just like this community. I'm happy here."
As the list of businesses keeps growing, the shortfall keeps shrinking, but as anyone with a Christmas list knows, time is running out.
"The monies that we raise at the bells stays in Newburyport," Brunelle said. "It doesn't go to Boston or any other communities; it goes right here and is used throughout the year. It's not just going to buy Christmas gifts for kids, it's helping people avoid eviction, helping people to put oil in the oil tank, helping to stock our food pantry, all the other programs that we offer throughout the year. Every dollar that we are short in the fundraising means fewer services that we can provide to the public."
The Newburyport Salvation Army offers numerous other services to people in the greater Newburyport area throughout the year, such as sending kids to summer camp and an after-school program that helps students with their homework and gives music instruction.
Brunelle said that people can give at the kettles through the end of the season, as well as at the Newburyport chapter’s website, www.onlineredkettle.org/give.
"We're hopeful that the community can help us finish our campaign strongly," Brunelle said. "Mr. Castagna and his other business partners have given us a wonderful boost in the right direction. But we are not there yet. It's a whole year of anti-poverty, anti-hunger, anti-homelessness programs that we offer not just in November and December, but all year long.”