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Christmas charity campaigns going well


Charities throughout Central Alberta have been hard at work, doing their best to make sure as many people as possible have a Merry Christmas.

The United Way’s fundraising campaign hasn’t wrapped up just yet, but Forrest said they have made significant progress on their goal of $1.99 million.

“Things are going very well,” said Jennifer Forrest, Central Alberta United Way resource development director.

“We’re very pleased with how many people have stepped forward and made their contributions. We’ve seen a lot of increases from people this year.”

What was significant for the United Way this year was the leadership matching challenge.

The challenge was sponsored by MNP, Canadian Tire North and Warren Sinclair LLP, which provided matching funds for new or increased leadership gifts of $1,000 or more to the United Way’s Community Impact Fund, to a maximum of $22,000.

For the Salvation Army’s adopt-a-family program, Major Larry Bridger said the number of families were down this year.

“We were surprised we were down,” said Bridger. “We registered 156 families, which is down 31 from last year. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, people knew registrations were taking place.”

However, Bridger said it could be a good sign too as fewer families may be in need of assistance this holiday season, or at least that is the hope.

“We would like to think so.”

On the flipside of that is there were more sponsors for the adopt-a-family this year than the year prior with 129, up from 111.

As well the kettle campaign totals were at about $100,000.

Now the Salvation Army is gearing up for the Christmas dinner on Christmas Day where Bridger said they should have enough food to feed about 300 people.

Similar to the Salvation Army the Red Deer Christmas Bureau is down a little bit from last year.

“It’s been a really good year,” said Teresa Kutynec, Christmas Bureau president. “We’ve had lots of volunteers, so that’s been easier for us, they’ve been really great.”

During the Christmas season was also when the Christmas Bureau was relocating to a new office, across the street from their previous location in the same building as the Red Deer Food Bank.

“We always hope there aren’t as many people in need,” said Kutynec. “If we do get more people, hopefully there will be more people donating to offset the difference in numbers.”

Kutynec said the people who have donated have been very generous during this Christmas season.

In total the Christmas Bureau had 1,001 applications for hampers, down about 50 from last year. They are helping 968 kids this year, compared to 1,065 last year.

The Innisfail Charity Checkstop raised $9,472.80 this year, said Charlene Carvers, one of the checkstop organizers.

“I’m still looking, but I believe this is our best year ever,” said Carvers.

As well they took in 700 pounds of food and several truckloads of toys.

“It’s hard to estimate because the truck keeps coming and going, but there were several truckloads of toys,” said Carvers.

The event, which sets up on main street in Innisfail, allows people to voluntarily come in and donate food, clothing, money and toys.

The money is given to local charities, including the food bank, Christmas Bureau, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Central Alberta Women’s Shelter.

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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