Red Deer Salvation Army is ending 2016 with a new fundraising record.
Maj. Larry Bridger, Red Deer Salvation Army director and pastor, said its annual kettle campaign pulled in $246,146.47.
“Last year we raised just over $234,000, which was our best year ever so we have a new best year,” Bridger said on Friday.
This year’s goal was $220,000 in light of the tough economic times everyone continues to face.
“I guess in hard times people still respond so we’re very pleased. It’s certainly more than we anticipated.”
Red kettles were set up at 10 locations around the city from Nov. 17 to Dec. 23. The kettle at Costco also accepted donations for four hours on Dec. 24.
Bridger said donations really picked up during the last week.
“All locations did phenomenally well. We certainly can’t complain. People came through in a big way.”
He said a lot of new volunteers also stepped forward this year to take shifts at the kettles.
The kettle campaign funds local Salvation Army programs and more people have been seeking help, Bridger said.
One of its programs is a weekend breakfast, lunch and dinner program for students. On Fridays, children are sent home with a backpack of healthy, easy to prepare food. The program costs $75,000 a year to operate for 197 children.
He said the extra money raised will hopefully allow for some expansion of the backpack program.
“A great, big thank you to Red Deer. The citizens have been absolutely marvellous. I want to wish people all the best in the New Year.”