Barring a Christmas miracle, the Salvation Army here will fall short of its $500,000 goal for its kettle campaign.
As of Tuesday, the Salvation Army had to raise $120,000 in order to meet its goal of half a million dollars before the campaign closes on Christmas Eve.
“It’s a big hill,” said Salvation Army spokesman Michael Maidment. “But I’m very hopeful that we can reach the goal.”
The money raised through the kettles stays locally, and helps more than 20,000 people through 22 community family services programs.
“The programs assist families with basic needs like food hampers and warm clothing, snowsuits for children, winter clothing for adults and provide things like vouchers for furniture, beds, toiletries and diapers,” said Maidment.
The Salvation Army also administers programs including Winter Warmth, which is funded by Hydro Ottawa and Enbridge Gas, and Rent Bank, a program that helps people at risk of eviction pay their rent. The charity also offers a program called Money Wise, which helps families and individuals on fixed incomes come up with a budget and a plan through financial coaching, and distributes toys collected through the Toy Mountain program.
“If we don’t meet our goal, then we can’t help as many people,” he said. “That’s worrisome because we know that in 2009, we saw a significant increase in people who came to the Salvation Army for assistance,” he said. “Largely, what we’re seeing is the effect of the recession. We expect that increase to continue through early 2010.”
Another reason for the shortfall is because the way the calendar falls – with Christmas on a Friday, there is one fewer weekend to collect donations, Maidment said.
This year, the kettles are set up in 32 locations, including at malls and LCBO, Costco and Wal-Mart locations. In the last few days, additional locations have popped up in an effort to collect more funds, but by the time the last kettle closes tomorrow evening, the organization still expects to be $25,000 to $30,000 short.
While the kettles will end after tomorrow, the Salvation Army continues to fundraise year round. People can continue to give online at salvationarmy.ca or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. New this year, Rogers and Bell Mobility subscribers can make a $5 donation by texting the word “hope” to 45678.
“You never know,” said Maidment. “There could be a miracle out there.”