Christmas fundraising campaigns are well underway for the three main agencies in Abbotsford that support those in need during the holiday season.
The Abbotsford Christmas Bureau (which serves as the food bank for the rest of the year), the Salvation Army, and Cyrus Centre for at-risk youth are hoping to reach their fundraising goals this month.
The money they raise during the holidays helps them to provide their programs and services for the next 12 months.
Food bank manager Dave Murray said the organization has currently raised about $487,000 toward its $850,000 goal.
He said the food bank has recovered from the crisis point it reached in October, when food supplies hit their lowest point ever. Media attention on the issue resulted in a flood of food donations coming in, but Murray said he’s not sure how long the supplies will last in the new year.
He said he will have a better idea next week, once donations have been dropped off from school food drives and from the annual Fraser Valley Auto Mall food drive on Saturday.
Murray said the Christmas Bureau expects to help 4,000 to 5,000 individuals through the holidays, including about 1,800 kids.
He said he’s concerned that there are 133 seniors on the list for help this year – in the past, there have been just four or five – and the food bank will be looking into that in more detail in the new year.
Families receive food hampers, including a full Christmas breakfast and dinner, which are distributed at the food bank on Essendene Avenue, as well as toys/gifts, which are distributed at Sevenoaks Alliance Church on Gladwin Road.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army hopes to raise $450,000 through the holiday season, primarily through its red kettle and mail campaigns.
Capt. Mark Dunstan said donations are currently down from where they were last year at this time, but he’s hopeful the difference will be made up.
The Sally Ann provides food hampers and gifts over the holidays, including through its Angel Tree program at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre. Last year, presents were provided to almost 1,000 kids.
Dunstan said the organization provided 115,000 meals this year at the Centre of Hope on Gladys Avenue. This compares to 47,000 meals 10 years ago.
Also hoping to meets its fundraising goal this season is Cyrus Centre, which supports youths ages 18 and under with services such as emergency shelter, meals and clothing.
Executive director Les Talvio said the centre hopes to raise another $30,000 to bring the centre up to the $100,000 it needs to maintain its services for the next year.
“We’re not all about the frills and fluff. We provide what we provide, and I think we’re very good stewards of our funds,” he said.
Cyrus Centre, located on Ware Street in Abbotsford, currently averages more than 800 visits a month.
For more information about the Christmas Bureau, visit abbotsfordfoodbank.com or call 604-859-5749.
For the Salvation Army, visit careandshare.ca or call 604-852-9305. To volunteer for the red kettle campaign, call 604-309-0660.
For Cyrus Centre, visit cyruscentre.com or call 604-859-5773.