Major Robin Borrows is beginning to worry.
The Pastor at the Salvation Army Nelson Community Church is concerned that there won’t be enough funding to keep the organization’s programs running.
“The Salvation Army relies on funds from Christmas to keep our programs, including the Christmas Hamper program, going throughout the year,” explained Borrows.
While fundraising and donations do occur year round, the majority are collected during the holiday season.
“At this point, we are at about 25 per cent of what we need. So we have a long ways to go and are getting a little nervous,” he said.
Currently the organization has received about half the amount of money in donations that they had at the same time last season.
Borrows said the push is on to get more people to donate.
“If we do not achieve our goals we are, unfortunately, going to have to cut programs and we don’t want to do that.”
The local Salvation Army runs a number of needed programs in the community including a hot breakfast and shower program and the food bank to name a few.
“What we raise here in Nelson, stays in Nelson. But also what we need in Nelson, we have to raise in Nelson — there is no outside funding.”
While cash donations are slow, there has been no shortage of donations of canned goods, non-perishables and other food items.
“Food donation have been great right now. Last year at this time we were facing a crisis and that’s not the case with food,” he said.
But if funds don’t start to come in at a quicker pace, Borrows admits the group will have to re-evaluate future programs.
“Our Christmas Hamper program is safe. That money was raised last year. Our programs from our budget year on will suffer so we may have to close say our breakfast program or we may have to reduce how much food we are putting out each year.”
On a monthly basis, at the food bank alone, the Salvation Army gives out about 400 hampers to families and individuals.
“That’s different people every month.”
The drop-in centre also serves a hot breakfast, four days a week, to 40-60 people each day.
That’s a lot of people relying on us.”
Borrows can only speculate on why donations are down so drastically this year.
“We do not know. It could be that people are waiting to the end of the year, that they haven’t done it yet. Maybe the economy is suffering a little bit with Fortis out right now. It could be a number of things.”
But there is still time and opportunity to help.
Donations can be made at any of the Salvation Army kettles (one in the Chahko Mika Mall and the other on Baker Street), by mail or at the Salvation Army office at 601 Vernon Street.
Donation can also be made during the 8th annual Miracle Marathon food drive on December 7 at the Chahko Mika Mall at 9 a.m. or at the CP Holiday Train event on December 11 at 6:45 p.m. at the railway crossing at Lakeside Park (1900 Lakeside Dr.).
For more information call 250-352-3488.