When he looks back on the year that’s rapidly coming to a close, Salvation Army community services co-ordinator Major Rolf Guenther sees both good and bad news.
The good, he said, is that the Oceanside response to the Salvation Army’s fundraising campaigns raised about the same amount as it did last year. That stands in welcome contrast to the overall national campaign, which has seen donations as much as $6 million below their goal.
The bad news however is that more Oceanside residents than ever before are relying on the services provided by the Salvation Army — meaning a little less to go around for everybody.
“We had 670 clients for Christmas this year, compared to 600 last year,” he said. “Every year it gets more and more. The drop is reflected here to some extent, but we are still much better off than some food banks in other areas.”
The food bank, he noted, eats up about $3,500 every month.
“The stores give us a really good deal when we buy food, but $3,500 is still a lot of money,” he said.
The demand doesn’t stop when the Christmas wrapping paper is put away for the year, Guenther said.
“Our Christmas is 12 months of the year,” he said. “One month is crazy and the rest of the year is busy. We don’t stop giving at the start of January.”
Because of this, Guenther said he hopes Oceanside residents will continue to give generously once the current holiday season is just a memory.