The Christmas season is traditionally a time for giving, but The Salvation Army’s “Kettle Campaign” is seeing fewer donations which could impact plans to reach more areas of the city in the new year with the programs it operates.
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Steve Martin, a Bathurst native now living in Saint John, is giving back to the Salvation Army as a volunteer after receiving assistance from the organization to find him subsidized housing.
He said he can see a change in the number of donations coming in.
“I noticed a big drop off … but this time of the year too because people are shopping for Christmas and stuff but you can’t give the money that you don’t have,” he said
The Salvation Army is well aware of the decline. It is about $60,000 short of its $150,000 goal, and $20,000 behind where it was at this time last year.
The economy is at least partly to blame according to the Salvation Army officials.
“We do know that a number of people are currently our clients who would in previous years have been donors,” said Captain Darren Woods, executive director of the Salvation Army in Saint John.
“Part of the problem the Salvation Army is having this year is at least half a dozen of their regular locations have reduced the amount of time they are able to set up their kettles,” he said.
One unnamed and highly profitable location in particular has made a significant difference in the past, Woods said.
“Ordinarily the location would have let us in just after Remembrance Day, sort of middle of November and we would be there until Christmas Eve,” he said. “Unfortunately this year we only have a two week period which we can actually be there instead.”
Part of the plan, which is now in jeopardy, was for the Salvation Army to expand its presence into more priority neighbourhoods including Crescent Valley.
The local resource centre says they would love to seem them at the table.
“See what they can bring to the Crescent Valley Resource area and what they could do to, I guess, contribute to what’s already being done here,” said Katherine Miller, the Resource Centre’s community engagement coordinator.