The Estevan Salvation Army came up a little bit short of its goal for the 2017 Christmas campaigns, but donations are still coming in and the ministry is confident it will eclipse its goal.
The Salvation Army received $31,764 through its kettle campaign, which ran in the weeks before Christmas. The kettle campaign had a $30,000 goal.
Another $64,640 came in through its letter appeal, as of Tuesday afternoon, which was a few thousand short of the $70,000 goal.
So far $96,404 has been donated, and the overall goal was $100,000.
“I’m sure that in the next little while we’ll reach 100 per cent of our goal,” said Major Heather Harbin with the Salvation Army.
The donations typically slow down in January, since the kettle campaign and the letter appeal are held in December. But Harbin said the Salvation Army received some contributions on Tuesday.
Those last-minute donations in previous years have helped the Salvation Army eclipse its goal.
People also gave of their time to support the kettle campaign. The Salvation Army had kettles set up at five locations in the community, six days a week, and it was able to fill all of the two-hour shifts.
“In giving, people give their time, with companies … individuals, organizations, it was just great,” said Harbin. “We didn’t struggle to find anyone to help us out.”
They didn’t have to take down the kettles due to a lack of volunteers during the campaign.
Funds raised during the Christmas campaigns will be directed towards the Salvation Army’s local operations at Christmas time and throughout the year. It will have to purchase food for the food bank to fill the shelves and meet its needs once some of its stocks are depleted.
“In March, we will have a program for income tax for low-income people,” she said.
It helps them send local youths to camps during the summer months. And it allows them to meet needs of local residents throughout the year.
The shelves of the Salvation Army’s food bank are now full, which will allow the ministry to get through the next couple of months. People brought food to events like the local visit from the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, and many businesses that had Christmas parties encouraged employees to bring donations for the food bank.
“We received so many donations of food,” said Harbin. “So many people had food drives. Schools and companies and individuals supported us.”
But the Salvation Army has already been busy this year, with people coming in for help.
“The need doesn’t stop,” said Harbin.
The Salvation Army fills hampers throughout the year, which impacts the amount of food available, and it fills many hampers before Christmas through its involvement with the community Hamper Association.
This year marked the third Christmas in Estevan for Harbin and her husband Wilfred. The people in Estevan have always been so generous, she said, but the Harbins recognize it’s tough to know what to expect when times are tough, which they have been in recent years.
Those tough haven’t stopped giving in the last few years.
“It speaks to the people who live here,” said Harbin.