Manitoba charities feel hit as Canada at 10-year donation low
A recent study by the Fraser Institute in British Columbia shows the amount Canadians donate to charities is at a 10-year low.
And some local charities have been feeling the hit this holiday season.
Winnipeg Harvest’s December financial donations were at around $485,000 at their last check, which is well below the $900,000 – $1 million they usually receive during the month.
Much of these donations go to keeping the Harvest building in good shape and maintaining the vehicles, used to deliver food.
“We have the responsibility to feed 64,000 Manitobans and without having a warehouse to use, to keep heated, and to get trucks on the road. Without trucks, basically we can’t get food banks out,” Sheldon Appelle from Winnipeg Harvest said.
Other local charities have also noticed a drop in giving. The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign was short of its $370,000 goal by 5 per cent in Winnipeg, and 8 per cent in Manitoba.
“Our goal is what we need,” Major Rob Kerr of the Salvation Army said. “That’s not an inflated number, by not reaching that goal, there might be impacts somewhere.”
And the Christmas Cheer Board campaign was down 10-20 per cent in financial donations from a year ago.
“(We buy) fifty to sixty per cent of everything goes into hampers,” Cheer Board executive director Kai Madsen said. “That part has to be looked after too.”
The 2017 Generosity Index, a report from the Fraser Institute, shows Canadians donated 0.56 per cent of their income, the lowest amount in a decade and down from a 10-year peak of 0.78 per cent in 2006.
“The holiday season is a time to reflect on giving, and with Canadians becoming less generous every year, charities face greater challenges to secure resources to help those in need,” said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the study.
The charities can’t pinpoint a reason as to why the drop in donations, but their message to Winnipeggers is clear.
“Every little bit does count,” Appelle said. “You can donate one dollar, 100 dollars, 20 dollars, it makes a big difference.”
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