Ten Salvation Army red kettles are now set up around Red Deer waiting to be filled with cash to help more people in need.
Maj. Larry Bridger, Red Deer Salvation Army director and pastor, said the target this year is to raise $220,000 to fund local Salvation Army programs.
“We’ve seen an increase of probably 25 to 30 per cent in clientele coming for help this year,” Bridger said at the kettle campaign kickoff at Bower Mall on Thursday.
Last year the annual campaign raised a record $235,000. But since times are still tough, the organization wanted to set a hopeful but responsible goal, he said.
One of its programs, that costs $75,000 a year to operate, is a weekend breakfast, lunch and dinner program for 197 school-age children. On Fridays, children are sent home with a backpack of healthy, easy to prepare food.
To fund that program and others, an estimated 300 volunteers are needed for the kettle campaign.
Bridger said even if people can only do one two-hour shift, it would be greatly appreciated.
“We’ve still got quite a few open spots that need to be filled. We need lots more help yet.”