Kelowna Salvation Army kettle donations down 25% so far this season

Donations down this year

The Kelowna Salvation Army says donations to their annual Kettle campaign, which collects donations for families in need around the holiday season, are down 25 per cent compared to this time last year.

Major Mark Wagner says cash donations to the iconic kettles drive are slumping, but these are early days for the campaign, which kicked off Nov. 23.

A recent decision by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch to not allow the charity to collect funds in front of provincial liquor stores, including those in the Central Okanagan is not a factor, according to Wagner.

"Liquor store locations have been very generous with us. So we will miss being there. But, you know, that's just the way it is."

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch says they had previously committed to two other charity campaigns this year before the Salvation Army approached them.

An in-store fundraising campaign is supporting Food Banks BC from Nov. 12 to Dec. 31, in addition to the BCL Share-a-Bear program, which sees customers asked at the till "if they would like to purchase one bear to take home while its twin is donated by the store to a shelter, hospital, or other worthwhile charity in their community."

"To ensure we don’t overwhelm our customers with donation campaigns when they visit our stores, we are not approving any other fundraising activities at our stores throughout the holiday period, while our Food Banks BC or Share-a-Bear campaigns are running," the agency said.

Wagner says they have adjusted their locations in Kelowna and respect the BCL decision.

"You know the liquor stores are still supporting local charities, and we have no quarrel with them over that. We're pleased that they are. And we just want to, you know, move forward and see if we can get the best location possible so that we can raise the money we need."

Wagner says the Kettle campaign organizers have tried to stay close to the BC Liquor store locations in Kelowna. "I think we're at Urban Fare in the one location and Atmosphere in the other location. It's sort of in the same neighbourhood."

Wagner says they have added tap machines to some of their locations, which makes it easier for people who don't carry cash to donate and he's hopeful they will still reach their goal of raising $850,000

"It's the season of joy and hope."

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