Goals of Abbotsford charities yet to be reached

The Christmas Bureau, Salvation Army and Cyrus Centre in Abbotsford still need help to hit their holiday campaign objectives.

Laura Balzer of the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau arranges toys that will be distributed to kids in need.

Laura Balzer of the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau arranges toys that will be distributed to kids in need.

The three main charities that fundraise in Abbotsford over the Christmas season have yet to reach their goals for the year, but staff are optimistic the community will come through.

Both the Salvation Army and the Abbotsford Community Services’ Food Bank/Christmas are on par with where they were last year at this time.

As of Monday, the Salvation Army had raised about $220,000 of its $500,000 goal, while the Christmas Bureau had collected approximately $304,000 of its $700,000 goal.

Cyrus Centre for youth was about halfway to its $100,000 target.

All the funds are used for programs and services operating year-round.

The three charities expect the funds to rise significantly by the end of the week, as tallies come in from various community supporters and the Christmas spirit sets in among the public.

Christmas Bureau director Dave Murray said much of their funds are still being counted from donations collected at area schools and handed in at the end of last week.

He said the number of people relying on the agency for support – including food hampers and gifts – this year appears to have increased, although final numbers aren’t yet in.

“Normally at this time of year, we’re starting to relax, but this week we’re going full-tilt.”

Deb Lowell of the Salvation Army said although donations are about even with last year at this time, she is somewhat concerned.

“We have to make up a bit, because of the increased demand on things we do … but we are very appreciative … I know there are a lot of people struggling this year.”

Most of the Sally Ann’s donations are collected through its red kettles set up at 13 locations in Abbotsford and Mission, but they are also mailed in and taken online.

Cyrus Centre director Les Talvio said he is hopeful the community will help the agency raise another $50,000 to reach its goal to maintain its services for at-risk homeless youth and their families.

This includes a concert tonight (Thursday) featuring the Sweeney Singers at Bakerview Church, 2285 Clearbrook Rd., starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by donation, with all proceeds going to Cyrus Centre.

He said this kind of support is invaluable to the organization.

“Thank you, Abbotsford, for being there for us,” he said.

For more information or to make a donation to the Christmas Bureau, call 604-859-5749, visit abbotsfordchristmasbureau.org or email christmasbureau@telus.net.

Donations to the Salvation Army can be made by phone (604-852-9305), online (careandshare.ca) or in person at either the Centre of Hope (34081 Gladys Ave.) or Cascade Community Church (35190 DeLair Rd.).

For Cyrus Centre, call 604-859-5773 or visit cyruscentre.com.