Campaign is at its halfway point


As the Christmas countdown begins, Salvation Army kettle campaigns across Canada are reporting a significant drop in donations, but Ottawans are proving to be more generous than the rest.

 




“Ottawa is doing better than average,” said local Salvation Army spokesman Michael Maidment. “Locally, we’re above where we were at this point last year.”

 




With seven kettle operation days left before Christmas, Ottawa has raised about $250,000, or 50 per cent, of its 2007 fundraising goal of $500,000, up from $403,000 in 2006.

 




That’s a good pace, Maidment said, considering the final week before Christmas traditionally sees a spike in donations.





“This last week is a really critical week for the campaign. We’re encouraging folks to come out and support us if they haven’t already.”





Hundreds of volunteers are donating about 12,000 hours to staff 52 kettle locations across Ottawa, to raise money that funds programs not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.





Kettles operate in 52 locations across Ottawa every day except for Sunday through to Christmas Eve, and proceeds benefit the organization’s community and family services, which supplies more than 5,000 local families with food vouchers, emergency clothing and transportation. It also funds the Winter Warmth program, which helps pay hydro and gas bills that have fallen into arrears. Canada-wide, these programs serve 1.5 million people each year.





Across Canada, however, many campaigns are concerned they are less than halfway to their local goals.





Fifteen to 20 per cent of the organization’s annual fundraising revenue comes during the Christmas season, said Graham Moore, territorial secretary for public relations and development.