In the week leading up to Christmas, local charities in Regina are launching a final push for donations to make the holiday special for everyone.
Major Bruce Mac Kenzie is the core officer for the Salvation Army Haven of Hope. He says bells are ringing at 13 different locations in Regina for the annual Kettle Campaign.
“This year the campaign is running a little behind where it was in previous years,” he said on Thursday. “We’re just over half, we’ve got a little over $100,000 towards our campaign objective of $225,000.”
He says part of the reason for that may be that the campaign is shorter this year. With eight days left to raise money, he hopes those kettles will start to fill with cash a bit faster.
“A lot of times giving sort of ramps up towards the last couple of weeks of the campaign,” Mac Kenzie said.
The money raised by the kettle campaign goes towards the hamper program which provides food for families that could not afford a traditional Christmas dinner otherwise. The remaining funds are also used locally to provide support to families in other months, because the need does not go away after Christmas.
Val Wiks is in charge of organizing the Christmas hampers and the Adopt-A-Family. More than 1,500 families are registered for help and 500 will be adopted. She says donations seem to be down a bit from last year.
“There is less people working in some of the businesses that used to adopt, and less money available,” Wiks said.
She believes the downturn in the economy is partially to blame for seeing fewer donations.
“There’s less people that have the disposable income to be able to take on the responsibility of another family for Christmas,” Wiks said
You can still donate to support the Christmas hamper program on site or by giving to the Kettle Campaign. Adopting a family helps the Salvation Army spread around the Christmas cheer.
“If they’re not adopted, we still want to make sure they get Christmas, so they will get a hamper and toys through Santas Anonymous,” she said.
Thursday is the deadline for the Homeless Partners Christmas wish list campaign. The program includes the Souls Harbour Rescue Mission and two churches. It provides profiles of people in need along with a wish list.
“They aren’t extravagant items, a lot of them are just like ‘hey can we have a Wal-Mart gift card or a new pair of boots that are seven, or maybe even a Christmas tree or Christmas decorations,” explained Katrina Robinson, director of development at Souls Harbour.
Souls Harbour is also still looking for donations of unwrapped toys and food for the Christmas holiday dinner on December 23. The toys are handed out to kids who attend the dinner and use the daycare.
“We need 32 heads of lettuce, we need 41 dozen dinner rolls, we still need a number of large apple pies to come in,” explained Robinson.
Robinson says Souls Harbour is also looking for people to adopt the women’s shelter by providing 12 gifts of equal value. One idea is to buy a backpack or bag and fill it with warm winter hats and mitts or hygiene products.
Robinson says donations to Souls Harbour are steady compared to other years.
“We haven’t really experienced a slow down. It always comes in in the last week – as nerve wracking as that can be – but Saskatchewanians always step up to the need,” she said. “We still have a little work to do, but I’m confident that we’ll hit all of our targets this year as we did last year.”