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Charities working hard, donations slow down

The combination of cold and snow has left some Red Deer Christmas Charities lacking to start the season, but they hope people will still be in the giving mood when they emerge from their houses this month.

“We are down a little bit in general donations coming in through the door,” said Teresa Kutynec, Christmas Bureau president.

“But we did really well at the stuff-a-bus, charity checkstop and Westerner bazaar.”

Kutynec said usually they have quite a few walk-in donations, but they are a bit down. Cash donations are also down, but she was hopeful that the other donations would make up for it.

At this time of year the Red Deer Food Bank Society is also in overdrive making sure they have plenty of food for those who need it over the holidays. Fred Scaife, food bank executive director said while they have a wealth of food, their cash donations are lacking this year.

“We’re getting a pile of food,” said Scaife. “We have more probably right now than we have ever had at any time in our organization.

“Food rich, cash poor.”

He said they have been down all year in cash donations, about 50 per cent less this year so far.

They have wrapped up most of their marquee Christmas events, including Tom Jackson and the Huron Carole, which happened last week.

Progress for the Salvation Army’s kettle campaign has been steady. Major Larry Bridger said they have received about 25 per cent of their target of $250,000 over the first nine days.

“That’s up a bit over last year, I think we’ve had a little bit better coverage this year compared to last year,” said Bridger, adding last week was a concern with Monday being a washout because of the snow, followed by the weeklong cold.

This Friday is also the deadline for applications for the adopt-a-family program. Bridger said they are at 125 registered families and expect the totals to be higher than last year’s 170.

“Sponsor wise we’re sitting at about 110 this year,” said Bridger. “We’re still looking for sponsors because we anticipate at least the same number of families as last year, if not more.”

More volunteers are needed for the kettle campaign and sponsors for the adopt-a-family program, those interested can call the Salvation Army at 403-346-2251.

For the Christmas Bureau their follow-up to the stuff-a-bus, was the Alberta Motor Association fill-a-fleet toy drive which took place on Friday. As well over the weekend the Christmas Bureau had a Christmas craft show at the Harvest Centre of the Westerner, a first for them.

“It’s been so cold that people haven’t been able to get out I think,” said Kutynec. “Even with our volunteers they’re calling us and saying they’re stuck in their driveway and they can’t even come.”

Food hampers start soon, going both Dec. 19 and 20. The Christmas Bureau is aiming to do about 950 hampers this year.

“I think there’s going to be this big push when we get over this cold snap and people will be shopping,” said Kutynec. “We’re hoping that’s a big pickup for us.”



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