November 27, 2018 11:43 pm

Several factors to blame for drop in holiday donations to Edmonton charities

WATCH: Some of Edmonton's charities are struggling this holiday season as they see a drop in donations compared to last year. With Christmas just weeks away, they hope for a boost. Albert Delitala reports.

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Some Edmonton charities have seen a drop in donations this holiday season compared to last year, but they hope to make up the difference in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The Christmas Hamper Program connects women and children who have fled abusive domestic situations with sponsors who buy holiday gifts. It’s jointly run by WIN House, Lurana Shelter, La Salle, Valeda and Katherine Drexel Place.

Lack of awareness

This year, the hamper program has seen fewer sponsors. In 2018, nearly a third of client families remain unmatched compared to last year when all 110 families were linked to a sponsor, according to the WIN House women’s shelter.

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“There might be not enough sponsors aware of the program, which is why we’re seeing a decline in sponsorships,” said Mary Anne Nguyen, the marketing and communications co-ordinator at WIN House.

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A higher number of struggling families are also projected to sign up for the program this year.

Struggling economy and donor fatigue

Thrive Outreach Foundation has seen a dip in support too. The charity has served Christmas dinner to seniors and the homeless among others for eight years. This season, it’s short $15,000 after a sponsor dropped out.

Elaine Dyrberg, who spearheads the dinners, said the economy and donor fatigue are partly to blame, but she isn’t discouraged.

“I know that this event is still going to happen because Edmonton — that’s the heart of the people,” Dyrberg said.

READ MORE: Calgary cancer charities under pressure as corporate donations fall

One glimmer of hope for charities is “Giving Tuesday,” a day coined by some to counteract the mass consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many organizations, including WIN House, have signed on.

“Give back,” Nguyen said. “The holidays [are] a really great time to give back to our community and give back to people who need our help.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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