Christmas Crunch For Local Charities

70 per cent of the local Salvation Army's budget is publicly donated funds

From food drives to toy drives, local charities are pushing hard for donations to meet targets so people in need can have a Christmas.

“We find the final push is the last ten days,” says Captain Stephanie Watkinson, executive director of the Barrie Bayside Mission. “That is when the bulk of our donations come in.”

The Christmas Kettle Campaign has raised just over $295,000, or 51 per cent of the $575,000 target.

70 per cent of the Salvation Army’s operating budget comes from publicly donated money, the rest is government funding.

With that money, Watkinson says they can provide hot meals to the community, lunch and supper, and over 93,000 meals have been prepared this year.

The Salvation Army also provides warm beds to men and families who are experiencing homelessness, as well as all the supports that go with it.

At Christmas Cheer headquarters, days are running out before food and toy hampers are distributed to families in need. There is a final push for donations to ensure the nearly 1,700 hundred families who applied for help this year receive everything they need.

The fundraising goal is $250,000 and Christmas Cheer currently sits at $135,000 raised.

“We have over 1,200 volunteers heading into the warehouse this week to pack toys and food hampers for our clients, ” says Leah Wells, Barrie and District Christmas Cheer President. “It appears we are going to fall a bit short due to the growing number of applicants over last year.

The Rock95/KOOL FM Toy Drive is doing well according to Toy Drive Coordinator Victoria Leahy.

But she says the need still is still there.

“We really need books. Especially for teenagers, who sometimes unintentionally get overlooked. So, books for teenagers.”

Salvation Army Kettle Drive: Volunteers need this weekend, Monday/Tuesday next week. Brenda at 728-3737, ext 238.

Christmas Cheer:

Rock 95/KOOL FM Toy Drive: