KAMLOOPS — Christmas is just over two weeks away, which means charitable organizations are up against the clock as they try to ensure a happy holiday season for all members of society.
Christmas Amalgamated, the Salvation Army, and New Life Community Kamloops are a few of the local agencies relying on a spirit of generosity this holiday season.
"We raise enough money in 33 days to fund our whole social ministry for a whole year," said Maj. Paul Trickett of the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign kicked off in mid-November. The campaign raises money for emergency response and community assistance, such as food hampers and hygiene items for those in need.
This year's goal is to raise $200,000 locally.
"We're averaging about the same as last year," Trickett said. "We just broke the $60,000 mark. I think we're on a good pace. Volunteers are always needed though, that's the big thing right now."
Christmas Amalgamated also needs more volunteers as Christmas food hampers are set to be assembled next week. They also require plenty of food donations.
"The food that goes into a Christmas hamper starting with the turkey, all the trimmings, whatever you need for your Christmas dinner, and then of course the fancies, like the apples, and the oranges, and the candies," said Christmas Amalgamated coordinator Sally Whitson.
Whitson says registration for gifts and hampers has been slower than normal, but it's expected to pick up as Christmas draws near.
"We're really running out of time to get people registered so that we have an opportunity to adopt out the larger families and be able to assess exactly how much food we're going to need," Whitson said.
New Life Community Kamloops is well into its Christmas campaign, as the organization raises money for its year-round operations.
"The campaign was in the mail middle of November, and so it starts out really strong and then takes a little bit of a lull, which is kind of where we are this week," New Life Community's Executive Director Stan Dueck said. "We're really hoping it's going to kick up again here towards the end of this week and between now and the end of the year, but it's been good. It's certainly comparable to last, maybe even a little bit ahead."
Last year's campaign brought in around $150,000, which barely scratches the surface of all the organization's financial needs.
"I was going through some of the numbers the other day, I think our utility bill is $56,000 a year, our grocery bill is $100,000 a year, telephone is $14,000 a year," Dueck said.
With a few weeks left to give, charitable organizations are hoping Kamloops residents will open their hearts and wallets this Christmas.
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