Calgary Salvation Army only half way to $1.25M fundraising goal as Christmas approaches

With just days until Christmas, several Calgary charities are struggling to meet their fundraising goals for the crucial holiday season.

'Those funds help us deliver services, whether that's food hampers, helping people with rent, with utilities'

Salvation Army spokesperson Mark Stanley says the organization's annual Kettle Campaign has raised only half of its $1.25-million goal in Calgary. (CBC)

With just days until Christmas, several Calgary charities are struggling to meet their fundraising goals this year.

Salvation Army spokesperson Mark Stanley says the organization's annual Kettle Campaign in Calgary has raised only about half of its $1.25-million fundraising target.

It has also been a struggle to fill all of its volunteer shifts for collecting the donations at the kettles in shopping centres and grocery stores.

"Need is high and the need for support is high," he said.

"Those funds help us deliver services, whether that's food hampers, helping people with rent, with utilities, after school programs. This is the time of year we raise the funds that help us provide services all year round."

For anyone who would like to give a donation but can't afford to, volunteering for a kettle shift is another valuable way to help, Stanley said. Shifts are three hours long.

Stanley is also encouraging the public to donate online or through the new Salvation Army Kettle app.

Long-time Salvation Army volunteer Art Tetz says donations do seem to be down this year.

"Everybody is just so kind, and I really enjoy doing this, otherwise I wouldn't be here," he said. "People will come by and say 'I haven't got much but I'll give you what I got.'"

Mina Demian with the Alex Community Health Centre says they have also noticed a slight fundraising drop.

"It's a real challenging time of year for families, and so actually having these donations are absolutely critical," he said.

United Way CEO Karen Young says some charities are scrambling to meet growing demand, as donors continue to cope with the downturn.

"People really have been stepping up, but as you get into the third year of it, there may be a little bit of fatigue," she said.