Tuesday July 29, 2014

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Salvation Army tops its goal

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The Estevan Salvation Army eclipsed the goals that it established for its 2013 Christmas campaigns.

The Salvation Army received $91,450.09 in donations, which was slightly better than its goal of $90,000. The kettles generated $35,499.52, while the letter appeal collected $55,960.57. The goals for the kettles and the letter appeal were $35,000 and $55,000, respectively.

"We had a great number of individuals, businesses and corporations donate this year, and … because we met our goals, we're able to secure our programs for the coming year," said Lieutenant Brian Bobolo. "We're able to keep up with the growing costs of shelter and food."

They eclipsed the goal during the final week of the campaign. A lot of donors came forward in the final days.

Prior to the final week, they were behind the pace of 2012, when they raised about $75,000, and had a goal of $80,000.

"We do fundraisers and we accept donations throughout the year, but the whole year really rides on the Christmas campaign," said Bobolo. "It's our biggest fundraiser and it's the time of the year when people give the most."

Expenses increase annually, he said, so the Salvation Army has to raise a little more at Christmas each year to maintain its programs. When they exceed their goal at Christmas, it allows them to seek other ways to serve the community, and to establish other partnerships.

The money will be directed to a variety of programs, Bobolo said. They provide shelter for people throughout the year. Not only is the Salvation Army involved with the Warm Welcome initiative, but they provide shelter for parents and children, victims of domestic violence, people with mental health issues, and other individuals.

They'll send local children to camps, supply bus fare for individuals, help hospital patients after they're discharged, and offer a number of different initiatives at Christmas time.

The Salvation Army filled 18 hampers in 2013 as part of their commitment to the Community Hamper Association.

The money will also be used to operate the food bank. The Salvation Army purchases groceries when they run low on certain foods.

"We also by fresh foods," said Bobolo. "Fresh items do not get donated, so we buy fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat products and whole grains throughout the year so that we continue to follow the Canadian food guide in all our food distribution programs."

About 5,000 pounds of food were donated to the food bank in the weeks prior to Christmas, thanks to events such as the CP Rail Holiday Train's visit, and the numerous food drives that happened in the community.

The food bank's shelves are full, he said, but they still need coffee, tea and canned fruits. They can also always use snacks for children, since the Salvation Army donates many foods to schools through breakfast and lunch programs. 

Volunteers played an important role in helping the Salvation Army reach its goal, Bobolo said. They had enough workers to fill all of their kettle shifts, which meant that they didn't have to take down a kettle during the campaign.


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