MEDICINE HAT, AB — The Salvation Army is hoping residents will give them an extra push in fundraising during the final days of its biggest fundraiser.
Across the country, $16 million has been raised through the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign. The organization is still $5 million short of its fundraising goal of $21 million.
"We rely heavily on our Kettle Campaign to fund our community and social service programs," says Major John Murray, Territorial Secretary for Public Relations and Development, in a news release. "As people are out shopping in these final days before Christmas, we hope they'll consider donating to a Salvation Army kettle as well. Every dollar donated will help The Salvation Army continue our vital work during Christmas and throughout the year."
Locally, the numbers are also down.
According to Major Murray Jaster, the executive director of the Salvation Army of Medicine Hat, the organization has raised approximately $210,000 through the Kettle Campaign and donations. While Jaster says money from the Kettle Campaign is on par with last year’s numbers, general donations are where the organization is taking a hit.
“There could be a number of reasons,” he said. “I just have this feeling that, perhaps, people don’t have quite the same amount of income, or they’re kind of guarding their income a little bit from what they did have.”
The organization has a fundraising goal of $350,000. Last year, they raised $275,000.
The money is used to run the organization’s resource centre and other initiatives, such as the hot meal program.
Jaster says not hitting the fundraising goal could have an impact on the amount of services the Salvation Army can provide to a community.
“I think it’s a discussion we probably will have. We haven’t had it yet,” he said.
“We’d have to take a really hard look about where we are at the end of the year, and see if it’s possible to continue. We would like to continue with what we have. We do have some reserve funds, but for how long, it’s hard to say.”
Jaster says the organization is working to keep its service levels at it current level, and thanks Medicine Hat residents for their support.
The Kettle Campaign runs until Saturday, and the organization is also accepting donations online at www.fillthekettle.com.
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