Donations are up and still rolling in after a successful Salvation Army holiday kettle drive.
The Salvation Army campaigns rolled out across the region on Nov. 14 and the local branch surpassed its fundraising goal of $350,000 by more than $10,000.
During the holiday season the local office, which includes St. Albert, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain, collected $360,911. This is up from last year’s total of $324,560.
“Donations are way up considering they keep telling us the economy is really bad,” Maj. Terry Cook, pastor and core officer at the Salvation Army said. “The people of St. Albert must have really dug deep. I suspect that when the economy goes a little bit south, people know that there are more people hurting so they are just a little more generous.”
In total the organization had nine kettles out in St. Albert to raise money, but they had trouble finding the volunteers to staff them. There were days when the organization could not put out all of their kettles because of volunteer shortages.
The group had particular trouble filling the shifts in Stony Plain and had one kettle only sporadically manned during the season. The group had arrangements at other locations but were not able to set up due to a lack of volunteers.
“I don’t know if the people realize the money raised there, stays there,” said Kellie McTaggart, Community Services Coordinator for the Salvation Army.
In a typical day each kettle requires five two-hour shifts, running from Monday to Saturday. McTaggart said there were a lot of volunteers who did a lot of shifts but they needed more manpower.
All the money raised over the holiday season will go into the community and family services budget which goes directly towards community programs and services. The money will also help support clients in St. Albert and surrounding areas.
The fundraising dollars were especially needed this year. The organization just started the Feed the Lambs program, which provides breakfast for students in need at 14 elementary schools in the community. The Salvation Army is looking to expand the program next fall and will need more donations to expand into more schools. The organization is also supporting 1,300 members of the community through direct client assistance, which is higher than in previous years.
The Salvation Army accepts cash donations year-round. To donate mail a cheque to the local branch or stop by and give cash, debit or credit. The Salvation Army is located at 165 Liberton Drive in St. Albert and they can be reached at 780-458-1937.