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ATLANTA-- There are few sounds that signal the beginning of the holiday season like the Red Kettle bell ringers. But now, they're up against a deadline and falling way behind on 2013 donations.

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The Kettle season is shorter by five days because of the late Thanksgiving date. According to Tamara Stinson with the Salvation Army, five fewer bell ringing days equates to about $20 million less in donations nationwide.

Money raised in Atlanta stays in the Metro Atlanta area to assist families with rent, utilities, food, and shelter. Last year, the Salvation Army provided 157,000 people with a warm meal and 103,000 with shelter.

"I am very concerned about the lost kettle days this year and how it will impact our ability to help those who are hurting," said Major Todd Hawks, Area Commander for The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta. "The Red Kettles are a symbol of giving and represent a tradition of caring that is passed down from generation to generation. We're hoping that shoppers will remember their neighbors in need when they see a Salvation Army bell ringer in the community during the coming days and be as generous as they can to help."

The Atlanta chapter says they're falling behind its goal of $2 million for the holiday season. It leaves just six days to raise $700,000. They're hoping a last minute online push to their virtual Red Kettle will help.

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