SHARING- A local youngster contributes to the Salvation Army’s annual kettle campaign last year. This year’s campaign is underway at a number of sites around the City.

Agencies gear up for Christmas season

A number of local agencies are gearing up for a busy Christmas season as fundraising efforts get underway.

At the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, officials are anticipating a busy December as a number of fundraisers are set to take place.

The organization recently finished its Coats for Kids Campaign which Willy Bullock, director of the toy depot and the volunteer coordinator for the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, said was a success.

“We believe we’ll be able to meet the demands this year. But as the City grows, so does the demand and as long as I’ve been here I’ve never seen a decrease in demand,” she said.

Some of the fundraising events the Red Deer Christmas Bureau will receive goods from next month include the RCMP Charity Check Stop, Toys for Tickets, the Westerner Christmas Bazaar Craft Show, Stuff-A-Bus in conjunction with the Red Deer Food Bank, the toque toss at the Rebels game as well as the cash cans local businesses have put out.

“We also have a few businesses in Red Deer who instead of exchanging gifts amongst themselves, bring a toy for the Christmas Bureau,” said Bullock. “All of these fundraisers are appreciated and they all really give us a good boost.”

The Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign was kicked off this past weekend and organizers hope for a successful year.

“We have eleven locations altogether throughout the City,” said Major Larry Bridger of the Salvation Army. “Our objective for this year is to raise $185,000.”

Last year the campaign raised $181,000.

“The money raised stays local and it will go towards our Community Family Services work, our Adopt-A-Family program and it will help clients throughout the year who look to us for assistance,” said Bridger.

Last year the Salvation Army helped about 200 families with its Adopt-A-Family program.

A new fundraiser for the local Salvation Army is an event called the Santa Shuffle and Elf Walk. The fundraiser is put on by the Running Room, which is set to open in the City at the end of the month. Participants pay a $30 registration fee for the 5 km run or 1 km walk. All proceeds are donated to the Salvation Army. The event runs Dec. 3. Registration can be done through the Salvation Army.

As for volunteers to help run this year’s campaign, Bridger said the Salvation Army is always looking for more.

“I do have to say though that I am amazed at the generosity of Red Deer.”

Meanwhile, the United Way of Central Alberta is closer to reaching its goal of $1.96 million. So far the campaign has raised $1.07 million, which is 54% of its goal.

“All of us on the Campaign Cabinet are excited to have surpassed the 50 per cent mark,” said Sherri Smith, 2011 Campaign co-chair. “However, we keep reminding ourselves that this is only half of our goal and that there are thousands of people who are depending on that other 50 per cent being raised in the next few weeks.

The money raised during the campaign is put back into the community and provides consistent funding for over 30 programs and services in Central Alberta.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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