The Salvation Army is starting to get nervous about low donations for its annual Kettle Campaign.
Volunteers with jingle bells in hand are doing their best, but the campaign as a whole is feeling the pinch of a struggling economy and low numbers of volunteers.
If not enough funds are raised, community ministries director Pat Humble said Salvation Army administrators will have to sit down and take a serious look at the support the organization will be able to offer in 2014.
“It’s a big concern,” said Humble. “Can we offer the same services all year? … To be able to meet those needs with our counsellors or our training classes or emergency resources, it’s tough.”
By last Friday the campaign hit $72,000, about equal with the same time last year, but the campaign started a week earlier this year.
Last year was also a weak year for the campaign, reaching $170,000 of the $250,000 goal. Organizers hope for a big final push in the days leading up to Christmas.
One of the primary reasons the numbers are down, organizers said, is there simply aren’t enough volunteers to collect donations by kettle.
“We’re having a hard time getting folks on them right now,” Humble said. “Standing in the cold, or standing at all, with a bell for a while isn’t attractive to people.”
Humble recognizes how strapped for cash people are these days, having seen previous donors coming in to get food hampers.
“That’s crazy,” Humble said. “The people that need it are in greater need this year, but the same thing that affects them is the same thing that’s affecting donors.”
Those who can’t give financially are encouraged to volunteer to man a kettle over the next week. Anyone interested can call 250-386-8521.
“We just want people to look at what they’re able to do to make the difference,” Humble said. “
Toys, non-perishable food and warm winter clothing are also accepted as donations.