During the 2017 Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign, former Parksville mayor Marc Lefebcre, right, donates to the charity with Major Norm Hamelin. The 2018 kettle drive was down $50,000 from its goal. - File photo

Parksville-area Salvation Army short on donations, volunteers

Soup kitchen will be closed on Tuesdays all February

The Mount Arrowsmith Corps Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettle Campaign was short $50,000 of its projected goal this year.

“That’s the difference between what we brought in this year and what we brought in last year,” said Major Norm Hamelin.

“It will have an affect on our ability to bring the services to the same standard we have been bringing. We’re hopeful that we’re going to be able to make up our shortfall, through donations.”

Hamelin believes the shortage in donations has something to do with the Canada Post mail strike that was happening during the same time as the Salvation Army’s letter appeal, where people can mail in donations. He also said there were challenges finding volunteers to fill shifts for the kettle campaign.

RELATED: Canada Post on strike in Parksville

“[The mail strike] happened at a critical point in our campaign,” Hamelin said.

“If anyone was intending to donate to the Christmas campaign they can still donate and we can issue receipts.”

The Salvation Army is also short on volunteers which has resulted in the organization closing the soup kitchen on Tuesdays for the month of February.

The Parksville soup kitchen will remain open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

“We had some internal changes that we need to look at so we’re looking at having that extra day to be able to co-ordinate volunteers,” Hamelin said.

“This is a time of year when a lot of our volunteers, the snowbirds, take time off for the winter… that’s affected us.”

Hamelin said it takes about 10 volunteers a day to run the soup kitchen, five in the morning and five in the afternoon.

“Their jobs are anything from prepping food, serving food, dishwashing, busing, we have greeters and people who come in at the end of the day to mop the floors,” Hamelin said. “There’s a variety of different tasks that we need volunteers for.”

Anyone interested in volunteering with the Salvation Army can call the office at 250-248-8794 and ask for the volunteer co-ordinator.

Hamelin said no other cuts to services have been made at this time, due to the funding shortfall.

“We’re just watching our dollars a lot closer,” he said. “We’re very appreciative of the support that we have received.”

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

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