© — Star photo by Paul Hutchings
Ruby Reid donates to a Salvation Army kettle in a Deer Lake supermarket while Debbie Rowsell attends. Nationally the Salvation Army is reporting fewer donations over last year, but in Deer Lake numbers are up by $1,500.
DEER LAKE The Salvation Army is experiencing a downturn in donations through their annual kettle drive across the country, but local churches seem to be bucking the trend.
A Tuesday news release from the organization shows it’s short by about $6 million nationwide and is at risk of not meeting its Christmas goals. So far they have collected about $13 million in approximately 2,000 kettles across Canada.
Deer Lake collectors have actually seen their numbers increase. Salvation Army spokesman Brian Snow said so far Deer Lakers have been more in the giving mood. He said the Deer Lake Sally Ann’s donations are up by about $1,500 over this time last year.
“We collected about $19,000 last year and this year we could break $20,000,” he said. “The economy, hard times, it all doesn’t seem to matter, we are doing very well.”
But Salvation Army officials in Corner Brook are seeing the same downward trend in their collections. Community and Family Services director Maj. Elaine Hibbs said they have seen donations drop, and they are down about $2,000 over where they were this time last year.
She said last year they raised approximately $68,000, beating their goal of $60,000 for 2010. They kept the same goal for this year but so far donations are not keeping pace.
“We’re hoping and praying, we’re trying to remain optimistic,” said Hibbs. “The public usually goes above and beyond but some people may be finding it harder this year.”
Hibbs said everyone has their own issues and some may be able to give one year and not be able to the next, depending on each individual circumstance. The last few days, she said, could help change the trend for the Corner Brook area.
“We’re thankful to everyone who donated or will donate,” she said. “Anything can happen at this point.”
Maj. Roy Perry of the Salvation Army in Stephenville said donations in his region are on par with where they were last year.
“At this point in time I would say we’re within where we were in 2010,” he said. “We’re not seeing any major downturn in this area right now.”
He said it’s always hard to judge at this point in the season but anything can happen in Stephenville as well.
“It seems fine now, but the last five days will determine whether we meet it or go over it,” he said. “We’re on par now but in five days we could be over or under, it’s so hard to say.”
Perry estimated that last year’s campaign raised approximately $18,000 for the Stephenville area.
The kettles will be in place up to and including Dec. 23. Donations go to help with the Salvation Army’s Christmas distribution and emergency assistance throughout the year.