A tough season for local charities

It’s been a tough year for seasonal charities but community Christmas dinners will be served up as planned.

It’s been a tough year for seasonal charities but community Christmas dinners will be served up as planned.

Local charities say it’s been a slow year but donations are beginning to increase as Christmas approaches.

The Salvation Army expects to have serve about 150 people, as they did last year, said Major Larry Bridger. The Salvation Army also expects to hand out 185 to 190 food hampers for families.

Although Bridger says the organization is on track for food, they’re not quite at their donation goal for the holiday season and hope that people will continue to give at kettles at shopping centres around town.

Red Deer Loaves and Fishes officials expect each of their five holiday dinners in December to attract about 300 diners. The final dinner is Friday.

Loves and Fishes also has a free store filled with children’s items like high chairs and car seats, as well as toques and socks, said executive director Halina Jarvis. They are also collecting donations of presents for children.

Kristine Nutt, a full-time volunteer at Berachah Place, is helping co-ordinate the dinner at Potters Hands on Dec. 25. She says that “without a question, it’s been a tough year,” but the dinner will be well supplied by the Red Deer Food Bank. The Potters Hands dinner served about 100 people last year, and this year they predict they’ll have up to about 120, she says.

Potters Hands provides meals year-round, and so far this year they have yet to run out of food or money, kitchen co-ordinator Chris Salomons said. However, “Christmas is a special time,” and the extra help received around the holidays is always appreciated.

The following is a list of free Christmas dinners. All meals include turkey dinners with all the fixings. Please try to arrive on time to make sure food is available.

• Loaves and Fishes: Friday, 5 p.m.; 6002 54th Ave. For more information or to donate, call 403-347-1844. Special donations are needed of presents for children.

• Salvation Army: Sunday, 1 p.m., Salvation Army Church, 4837 54th St. For more information or to donate, call 403-346-2251. Special donations are needed at collection kettles at various Red Deer shopping centres.

• Potters Hands, hosted by Berachah Place: Sunday, 5:30 p.m., 4935 51st St. For more information or to donate, call 403-309-4246.

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