Calgary charities struggling through holiday season

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WATCH: It's the season of giving, but some Calgary charities aren't necessarily feeling the benefits. Many non-profits across the city say the demand has increased, but donations are down. Jill Croteau reports – Nov 28, 2019

The pressure on Calgary’s not-for-profits is building. Most of them are counting on Christmas, being that it’s “the season of giving.” But charities admit they’ve been struggling for a while and provincial government cutbacks have made it more concerning.

The Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign is falling short compared to last year.

“It is slow. Funds coming in that support our programs is currently running around $20,000 under this time last year,” Salvation Army’s executive director, Karen Livick, said.

The rest of the year is reliant on the giving that happens during the holiday season.

“I worry about what we’re going to be able to do for families in the New Year because the funds raised now will take us throughout the year,” Livick said.

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The Salvation Army is accepting both financial donations and toys.

The Magic of Christmas said its organization is feeling it too. Vice President Scott Perley said the need is increasing.

Magic of Christmas warehouse. Jill Croteau/Global News

“Our referrals are higher and we are ahead of where we usually are,” Perley said. “The agencies we work with have been submitting more referrals for us.

“It is disheartening but at the same time, we look at it as, ‘Hey, there’s more people we can help.'”

Donations for The Magic of Christmas. Jill Croteau/Global News

Over the next several weeks, it hopes to fill the warehouse with gifts for close to 650 families and thousands of others in hospitals and care homes. The group promises it will get to every family it’s committed to even if it means doubling up its delivery loads on Christmas Eve.

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The Calgary Foundation is an organization that facilitates philanthropy by making connections between donors and community organizations. President and CEO Eva Friesen said many are concerned.

“There is no fat to trim so when they get a cut it’s a huge deal,” Friesen said.

“Charities run better than anyone by squeezing the value of every dollar they get so a small cutback is a big deal and it is stressful for charities.”

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