Calgary

Calgary charities struggle to meet donation goals

Some local charities say they're 40 to 50 per cent below their donation goals this year, jeopardizing programs for seniors and vulnerable families this holiday season and next year.

Local economy blamed for drop in funds raised

Lori Paine, executive director of the Calgary Seniors' Resource Society, says the organization is only about half way to meeting its fundraising goal this year. (CBC)

Some local charities say they're 40 to 50 per cent below their donation goals this year, jeopardizing programs for seniors and vulnerable families this holiday season and next year.

The Calgary Seniors' Resource Society says they're only about half way to their fundraising goal of $70,000 to $80,000.

The group provides assisted shopping, caregiver support and friendly visiting to more than 2,000 at-risk seniors in the Calgary area. 

This time of year, they organize a program called Adopt a Grandparent, in which volunteers spend time with seniors who need some company around Christmas.

Calgary charities are struggling to meet donation goals, including the Magic of Christmas and Adopt a Grandparent. 0:38

Executive director Lori Paine says it's been a tough year for donations because of the economy. 

"People are just saying we've only got so much money, and we're just not able to do it this year, maybe next year. We're hearing that from individual donors and certainly the corporate sector," she said.

If more money is not raised, some of the organization's services may have to be cut, Paine said. 

"We're hoping that Calgarians, as generous as they are, that they will step up to the plate and help, so that we can actually provide all the services that we need to into 2017," she said.

Over at The Magic of Christmas, donations are down 40 per cent over previous years, while demand is up, officials said.

The charity relies on 750 volunteers and 18 donated Calgary Transit buses to bring gifts to 600 families on Christmas Eve. Visits are also made to people in hospitals, nursing homes and shelters.

Charles Russell, treasurer for The Magic of Christmas, said gifts for teenage boys, mothers and fathers are needed most. (CBC)

Charles Russell, treasurer for The Magic of Christmas, said gifts for teenage boys, mothers and fathers are needed most.

"But in our case the visit is the important thing," he said.

"We'll gather the family together, tell Christmas stories, sing a couple of Christmas carols."

The organization hopes to visit 5,500 to 6,000 people this Christmas. 

With files from Andrew Brown and Mario De Ciccio