Last-minute generosity helps Salvation Army Christmas fundraising top previous year’s total

A Christmas fundraising miracle boosted the Thompson Salvation Army kettle campaign in December when it looked like donations would drop well below what the organization received in 2018.

Roy Bladen, the Salvation Army’s Thompson director, said the first days of the campaign had good results compared to other years.

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“And then it dropped off,” he said. “The money coming in was very poor, and by Dec. 21, I realized that we were not even going to make $25,000, because it was so slow.”

But on the weekend of Dec. 21-22, “everything went berserk,” he explained. “By the time Monday came around, we had $48,000. So, we raised a lot of money in three days. Then we went on to collect another few thousand dollars – to bring us up to $51,144.” 

The December 2018 kettle campaign raised $50,099.

“I just tell everyone that God will provide us everything that we’ll need,” said Bladen, adding that he does not believe in making budgets. “But I must have one in order to get a budget passed. So, I budgeted $50,000, knowing that we made that last year.”

Bladen said the Thompson Salvation Army currently serves 115 families, and gave out 125 hampers over the holidays.

“We are feeding around 650 kids,” he said. “That’s a lot of children.”

He explained that the need for food bank and Salvation Army services fluctuates.

“It depends on the time of year it is,” he explained. “In the winter it’s usually the highest time.”

Despite the donation campaign’s success, the need for ongoing funding is a concern for Bladen.

“We receive no money from the government,” he said. “We have to pay rent like everyone else.”

Bladen explained that Christmas 2019 funds will keep the food bank operating throughout 2020.

“Of course, this will assist us with Christmas hampers for next year, because we must have those funds on-hand in order to provide the hampers,” he explained. “We are in very good shape right now. We are probably good until Easter. It’s not often that I can say that.”

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