The Salvation Army Vancouver’s Red Kettle Campaign – the annual holiday fundraiser where volunteers collect cash donations outside grocery stores and other businesses – records 40 percent fewer donations compared to to last year.

“Although we have already made a commitment to help hundreds of families with food and Christmas gifts, this drop in income will have a serious impact on our ability to help families throughout the year,” said Steve Rusk, Salvation Army Vancouver business manager.

Last year, the organization raised approximately $ 308,000 by the end of the campaign, which ends today.

This year, the organizers aimed to raise $ 300,000, which represents 15% of the organization’s annual budget. On Thursday, Rusk said achieving that goal would be a challenge.

“It really puts us in a difficult position,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, donations are also below average for our virtual campaign. “

The Salvation Army Vancouver has sought to raise $ 10,000 as part of its Virtual Red Kettles campaign. By Christmas Eve, the campaign had raised $ 1,886.

Solicitation by mail makes up the remainder of the organization’s annual budget, and those funds are so far down 50% from last year, according to Rusk.

However, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are generally great fundraising days for the Red Kettle campaign. On Thursday, Rusk said donations for that day matched last year’s levels. In addition, the organization generally sees an increase in donations during year-end donations.

“We have some ground to catch up,” said Rusk. “It’s unlikely to catch up with the days before when the Red Kettle campaign ends, but the year-end donations could definitely help. “

Multiple factors could explain the decrease in donations to the organization, such as the COVID-19 pandemic limiting in-person purchases.

A Wall Street Journal Editorial published on December 16 criticized the Salvation Army nationwide for being ruled by “awakened ideals”, pointing to a guide to discussing racism published by The Salvation Army’s international headquarters in London and withdrawn later.

The organization’s national commander, Kenneth G. Hodder, refuted this claim in an open letter Wednesday, writing: “The Salvation Army has never been in politics. Hodder wrote that the editorial negatively impacted Salvation Army donations across the United States.

Rusk declined to comment on the controversy, saying he was not authorized to represent the organization nationally.

“We can only speculate on the reason for this reduction,” he said. “There is no really solid way to measure the motivation of donors to give or not. “

In Vancouver, if the Red Kettle campaign does not meet its goal of raising $ 300,000, Rusk said donations at any time of the year will go to the organization’s annual budget.

“Please consider a gift today to help us make up for this loss,” he said.

Those interested in donating to The Salvation Army Vancouver can do so on their website and on its virtual Red Kettle Campaign Website.

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.