Charity drives seek volunteers

NANAIMO – Salvation Army, Hamperville also in need of donations.

Charity drives, normally short on donations, are coming up short-handed this year.

Loaves and Fishes and the Salvation Army are struggling to recruit volunteers to collect donations or help out at food bank distribution centres.

Salvation Army Envoy Dawne Anderson said Christmas Kettle donations are down because she can’t get enough volunteers.

“It leaves spots unmanned, which brings in less money,” Anderson said. “We’ve got to get more people on board.”

She is short 50-75 people to fill 108 shifts per day.

“It’s draining this year,” Anderson said. “We’re calling those who are already on board, calling all those who were on board last year and they’re just so busy in their lives that they don’t have lots of extra time to give, which is totally understandable.”

The Christmas Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s biggest annual fundraiser. This year’s goal for the kettle drive is $200,000, but donations as of Tuesday total $77,000, or about $5,000 less that what they should be.

To volunteer for the Christmas Kettle Campaign, please call Anderson at 250-740-1004 or 250-716-6595.

Hamperville organizers are worried they could be shorthanded, too. They need more volunteers to help at 13 distribution depots throughout the city.

“The way we’re doing distribution this year, we have a lot more positions available,” said Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes executive director, adding 300 of 1,200 volunteer spots still need to be filled.

Hamperville’s 2014 donation target is 68,000 kilograms of food donations, but as of Wednesday had raised about 19,000 kg.

To become a Hamperville volunteer, please register online at www.hampervillenanaimo.org.

Carolyn Iles, Great Nanaimo Toy Drive spokeswoman, said families are slower to register for the toy drive this year, but she expects the normal number of registrants – more than 760 – by distribution day.

“I expect the number of families to be approximately the same,” Isles said. “It’s just that many of them have not registered as of yet.”

Donations appear to be on pace, thanks to regular donors and to new organizations and companies, such as B.C. Ferries, taking up the cause, said Iles.