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‘Everybody is having a hard time:’ Edmonton charity feeling economic downturn

The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton holds its annual breakfast fundraiser, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015.
The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton holds its annual breakfast fundraiser, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. Dave Carels, Global News

EDMONTON – The Christmas Bureau of Edmonton is struggling for donations this year and the organization is pointing the finger at the economic downturn in Alberta.

“Everybody is having a hard time this year. Our clients are definitely having a hard time because there’s a lot more coming forward,” said Darlene Kowalchuk, Christmas Bureau of Edmonton campaign director.

“We know that our donors and fundraisers are also having an economic hard time too, where they may not be donating as much as they have been in the past.”

READ MORE: Economy putting pressure on Alberta charities

Alberta lost 14,900 jobs in November, raising the unemployment rate to seven per cent.

The Christmas Bureau hopes the economic downturn won’t have a major impact on donations.

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On Tuesday, the 34th annual Christmas Bureau Breakfast was held, which is the organization’s most important fundraiser of the year. The event typically raises about $100,000.

“It is a big contribution towards helping families in Edmonton,” Kowalchuk said.

WATCH: How is the Christmas Bureau’s 2015 campaign coming along?

The Christmas Bureau distributes Sobey’s gift cards to those in need, and expects to serve 67,000 Edmonton residents this year.

“We’ve pretty much served anywhere from eight-and-a-half per cent to Edmonton’s population on a yearly basis,” Kowalchuk said .

The organization has been in existence for 75 years.