Winnipeg charities still short on cash as holiday season nears end


The Salvation Army was still about $180,000 short of its $385,000 goal Thursday while Winnipeg’s Christmas Cheer Board is feeling a pinch too —  it still needs to raise about $49,000 to reach the $850,000 target it set for this year.

However, the Salvation Army isn’t shortchanged because of its November decision to pull donation kettles from Manitoba Liquor Marts amid escalating thefts and violent incidents — the Salvation Army managed to relocate most of the kettles formerly in Liquor Marts, said Jamie Rands, the prairie division’s public relations secretary.

“It was really a difficult decision,” Rands said, noting the organization plans to work with liquor stores in the future.

The Liquor Mart kettles usually bring in about 15 per cent of the annual charity drive’s revenues.

“Certainly the amount we are down this year is not based on [pulling out of Liquor Marts],” Rands said.

However, the big drop in Winnipeg donations — about 51 per cent less than last year — is part of a nationwide trend. Across Canada, revenues are down by about 58 per cent.

“We’ve been talking about perhaps donor fatigue, there’s so many organizations out there asking for money at this time of the year, GoFundMe, so many other options,” Rands said. “People tend to just look to a few they can donate to — hopefully the ones that can make the most difference.”

Meanwhile, the Christmas Cheer Board’s executive director is cautiously optimistic the charity will make its goal.

“Winnipeggers have always been fantastic and they’re just as good this year. We’re a little down on money,” Kai Madsen said.

The 100-year-old, volunteer-run organization donates Christmas hampers to people in need.

Both organizations hope Winnipeg residents will be able to dig a little deeper before the season ends.