The opening of the men’s dorm at the Salvation Army’s Rust Transitional Center has been delayed indefinitely due to a lack of employees to supervise the homeless shelter.

Major Rick Ray said he does not know why the employees quit, but that he and his wife have been taking shifts at the center to supervise the women’s shelter.

To open the men’s dorm would require two additional workers beyond what it takes to run the women’s 24/7 shelter. The men’s shelter, when it opens, will be nights only.

The men’s section was supposed to open Dec. 1.

“Right now we are still looking for staff,” said Ray. “I don’t know, but I think people like the idea of it.

“When they get here it starts out well, but it’s a lot to be here overnight when we’re 24/7. They have good intentions when they start, but they don’t stay. We have three employees now, four counting Major Kim (Ray). She’s covering a shift now. That takes her away from her duties with the Angel Trees and the Christmas program. It takes me away from my duties with the kettle campaign.”

The Red Kettle Campaign is not going as well as hoped this year. As of Friday, the total collected was $58,641.22, or 29.32 percent of the need the Salvation Army declared for the year of $200,000.

The organization did not set an actual goal.

“That’s without taking out for paid bellringers payroll,” said Ray. “I’m getting a little nervous.”

Ray said volunteer bellringers have been hard to come by and kettle bells have been silent at some locations. He cut the shift to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. unless volunteers take longer shifts. He said he spent $250 in gas last week driving to and from kettle sites when people did not show up.

To volunteer, apply for one of the homeless shelter positions or as a bell ringer, call 346-3010.

Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin