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Donations strong in Red Deer for Salvation Army kettle campaign

Community Christmas Dinner to be held Friday at Salvation Army
FILE - A tap device can be used to make donations to the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign. (Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army)

Salvation Army’s kettle campaign in Red Deer is doing better than last year so far, while donations are lagging behind elsewhere in Alberta and Northern Territories.

Major Kent Hepditch said as of Dec. 15 the Red Deer campaign had raised almost $162,000 compared to $154,500 by the same time last year.

Last year the local campaign brought in about $218,000. This year’s goal is $245,000.

“We’re just very grateful that when people are hurting, the community is really coming through for us again this year. We’re thankful for people’s generosity,” said Hepditch about the campaign that continues until noon on Dec. 24.

The Salvation Army’s Alberta and Northern Territories division says overall donations are behind by about $725,000 this year.

“We’re very worried. We have never seen a need this great while experiencing a lag in motivated donations,” said Lt-Colonel Brian Venables, divisional secretary for public relations, in a statement.

“Many of those impacted are no longer the most vulnerable in society – they could be a friend, neighbour, or family member. People who have donated in past are now finding themselves needing our help this season.”


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Donations from the kettle campaign go to support food hampers, help put toys and clothes under the trees of children in need at Christmas, and makeup a large percentage of the funds the organization needs to provide front-line support services throughout the year.

Hepditch said making sure more volunteers fill their kettle shifts by sending them email reminders, a good supply of about 150 volunteers, and a few new kettle locations has helped boost donations. More people are also making debit and credit card donations with a tap of their cards at the kettle.

He said the kettle campaign and other donations at Christmas make up the bulk of the organization’s annual fundraising to support services which saw increased demand in 2022.

Almost 900 regular food hampers were given out during the year, up from almost 700 in 2021. Requests for Adopt a Family Christmas Hampers were up by 10 to 15 per cent, including the Christmas hamper program for seniors. More schools are also joining the program that provides students with food every weekend of the school year.


Salvation Army kettles are coming out Friday and will accept debit, credit donations

Hepditch said the Salvation Army is also hosting its first Community Christmas Dinner in three years. A ham dinner, with meat donated by Olymel, will be held on Friday Dec. 23, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the army’s downtown location, 4837 54th St.

He said between 200 and 300 people would attend Christmas dinners prior to the pandemic, and just as many are expected for Friday’s free meal.

A community barbecue in September attracted more than 200 people.

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