Corey Moore mans the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle in front of the Parkland Mall Walmart on Thursday. It was the first of three shifts for Moore. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staf)

Red Deer Christmas charities ready for big holiday rush

Red Deer charities are bracing for the busiest time of the year.

The Red Deer Christmas Bureau received its delivery of toys from the Toys for Tickets program on Dec. 4 and is now preparing to put its hampers together, said executive director Teresa Kutynec.

In the first 12 days into the Salvation Army’s annual Kettle Campaign, Major Larry Bridger said the organization has raised about $70,000 with 18 days left of income to be counted.

“Our goal is $230,000,” said Bridger. “It’s still early, but we’re a little behind last year’s pace.”

Bridger said last year the kettle campaign ran for 31 days, whereas this year it is only 30 days. However, people are now able to donate to the Red Deer kettle campaign online through

The Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-family program, where families in need are matched with sponsors and families in need, receive a food hamper and toys for children. Last year, they had 221 families and with a week left to register about 150 families are signed up for the program this year.

The City of Red Deer’s Toys for Tickets campaign ran throughout the month of November, where people could pay a parking ticket with a toy instead of the fine. The donated toys are then turned over to the Christmas Bureau.

“We received at least the same amount of toys as last year,” said Kutynec.

The toys will go to make sure children in need have a gift to wake up to on Christmas morning.

The Christmas Bureau is also still accepting applications for their Christmas Hamper program until Dec. 14. The hampers are filled and made available on Dec. 20th and 21st.

“We will probably do at least the same as last year, 1,100 hampers,” said Kutynec, who added the most recent number of applicants was about 850.

“We’re doing between 30 and 35 applicants a day and it doesn’t take long to add up. It’s pretty busy now that it’s December.”

The Christmas Bureau was announced as the recipient of the 100 Red Deer Men Who Care’s last donation of the year. Kutynec said they were ecstatic about that. That money will go towards the hamper program, which will end up costing about $68,000 to organize.

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