Seasonal charity drives scramble for donations and volunteer fundraisers

More people needing help while fewer have money to share is putting local charities into a tight spot for their annual Christmas funding and gift drives.

More people needing help while fewer have money to share is putting local charities into a tight spot for their annual Christmas funding and gift drives.

The Salvation Army, Christmas Bureau and other groups are ramping up for the Christmas season with a number of events planned this weekend.

Already, the Salvation Army’s annual kettle drive is down by $4,700 from this time last year, says family services co-ordinator Shawna Wilnechenko. In 2008, kettle volunteers had collected $31,400 at this point in the campaign, she said on Tuesday.

There are fewer volunteers to help out this year, so that means there are fewer kettles around the city. People are also offering less money than they did when the economy was stronger, said Wilnechenko.

“So we are in great need,” she said.

Willy Bullock, executive director of the Christmas Bureau, said her group already has 100 more applications than it did last year, when 750 families received hampers and gifts were provided to 918 children.

In some aspects, the Christmas Bureau — which works closely with the Red Deer Food Bank — is in good shape. There are all kinds of stuffed toys left over, in particular because of the phenomenal success last year of the Toys for Tickets program offered by the City of Red Deer.

People who had parking tickets were invited to bring in toys for the Christmas Bureau rather than pay their penalties in cash.

The storage shelves are now well stuffed with stuffed toys, said Bullock.

But the Christmas Bureau is still short in a couple of areas, she said. It needs more mitts and tuques and it needs more gifts for teenagers.

Stephanie Phillips, program co-ordinator for Blackfalds Neighbourhood Place, said her group has applications from 25 families that have asked for help, but has found only 10 sponsors so far.

A number of ongoing programs and upcoming events have been set up to help fill the needs expressed by various charitable groups.

The Christmas Bureau and food bank are among the charities that will receive support from the RCMP’s annual Charity Check Stop, to be set up on Taylor Drive, immediately north of 32nd Street, on Saturday.

People are invited to bring tuques and mitts for the annual Rebels Tuque Toss, to be held during the home game against the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday.

Stuff-A-Bus, which collects gifts, food and cash for the Christmas Bureau and food bank, will be set up from Thursday through Saturday at the Parkland Mall.

Toys for Tickets is operating again at City Hall on Thursday and Friday.

Salvation Army kettles are set up at a variety of shopping centres throughout the city, including both Wal-Marts, both Canadian Tire stores, Superstore, Save-on Foods, Deer Park Co-op, Bower Place Shopping Centre Sears and Zellers locations and Scott’s Parables. Store locations operate from 11 am. to 9 p.m. until Dec. 23.

Kettle volunteers will also attend the Rebels game on Saturday and the Costco store on Saturday and Sunday and again on Dec. 11 and 12.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Calgary police officer seriously injured

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says one of its officers was… Continue reading

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

MONTREAL — Canadian politicians are adding their voices to the international reaction… Continue reading

‘Four of a dozen kids will not make it:’ Tina Fontaine’s family healing together

WINNIPEG — Melissa Stevenson was just starting her career 18 years ago… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $16 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $16 million jackpot… Continue reading

Hundreds of neo-Nazis march in Berlin, protected by police

BERLIN — Hundreds of neo-Nazis waving flags with the colours of the… Continue reading

Romanian trucker is Genoa bridge’s 43rd victim

GENOA, Italy — The Latest on the Italy bridge collapse (all times… Continue reading

1 dead, 6 injured after building collapse in Nigeria capital

ABUJA, Nigeria — An emergency response chief says one person is dead… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month