With only three days left until Christmas, the Salvation Army is looking for a much-needed surge in donations to keep up with the extraordinarily high demand this holiday season.
“It’s unprecedented,” said Maj. Brian Venables, a 20-year veteran of the Salvation Army.
“We’ve never had this many people come to us for our services.”
In Vancouver alone, the Salvation Army will serve more than 1,700 Christmas hampers this season, up 200 from last year.
The Army also plans to give out about 400 single-person hampers, twice as many as in 2008.
A Salvation Army Christmas hamper contains some clothing, blankets and food to last a family about four days. Each hamper has a $75 value per person.
“We’re also trying to make each hamper culturally specific,” added Venables.
“If a particular culture doesn’t celebrate with turkey, we do our best to supply them with items they do celebrate with.”
Pat Haram has been volunteering with Sally Ann for four years. Haram’s remaining hopeful for a strong finish to the donation drive.
“It’s been a slow season this year, but today has been a good one so far,” said the 56-year-old retired sales associate from her post at Pacific Centre.
“I’ve got about $200 and I’ve only been here an hour. There’s always a really good push right at the end. Fingers crossed.”