Demand up, donations down for Victoria charities

Salvation Army, Mustard Seed struggling over Christmas season

Many Victoria charities spent the final days of their Christmas fundraising campaigns hoping to see more financial donations under the tree.

Times have been tough at the Salvation Army, which, as of Wednesday, had generated just $142,000 of the $250,000 it was hoping to raise at its red kettles in the Capital Region before Christmas Eve.

Donors have also been feeling the financial pinch and giving less this year.

“Their dollar has to stretch further just like everybody else’s,” said Kyla Ferns, the Salvation Army’s special projects officer.

Kettle donations will pay for 1,500 Christmas food hampers for Greater Victoria families, up from 1,200 last year, as well as other programs and services.

Mustard Seed staff and volunteers also have their fingers crossed.

“We have a long way to go to reach our goal,” said Brent Palmer, director of the Victoria’s Mustard Seed food bank.

With 7,000 people coming through food bank doors every month the pressure is on to keep the shelves full and programs going, up from the 4,000 people who needed food 10 years ago.

“We have a city to feed,” Palmer said.

The charity is short by $500,000 of the $1.2 million it hoped to raise in November and December, a hefty chunk of the $2 million it needs every year.

Many Christmas charities and non-profits, however, are on track to meeting their goals.

C-FAX Santas Anonymous Society is doing well.

Its 12-hour radio fundraiser, called Miracle on Broad Street, raised $240,000 last Friday, exceeding expectations.

For others, such as Black Press’ Christmas charity, Pennies for Presents, donations to date are up slightly over last year.

“We’re flooded with coins right now, which is fantastic,” said chair of the Pennies’ committee Kyle Slavin.

In 2010, Pennies for Presents raised $12,000.

As of Wednesday, coins were yet to be tabulated. Slavin, however, predicted the total may be down this year but only slightly.

 

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