November 30, 2023

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N.S. charities in need of more donations to support increased holiday demand – Halifax

Volunteers at Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank have been busy preparing Christmas hampers for more than 800 families which will be distributed next week.

“We have more [applicants] this year, probably about a 30 percent increase,” said Dr. Denise Daley, Executive Director at Parker Street.

“We have a lot more people registering for the first time with Parker Street, for our Christmas hampers so the need is definitely there.”

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Each year the charity gives out hundreds of hampers, which include gifts for children and food for Christmas dinner. The organization has had great success with their toy drive this year, but says the big need is still for food.

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“We need more turkeys, we need more bread, specifically loaves of bread, we need more produce,” said Daley.

So far they’ve received fewer donations this year compared to the same time last year, but Daley says they remain optimistic.

“It is concerning, but with our community we know oftentimes the community will come out just before Christmas, so between now and next week we’re expecting a lot more donations.”

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia charities seeing impact of rising cost of living'

Nova Scotia charities seeing impact of rising cost of living

An increase in need and decrease in donations is something charities all over are noticing.

The Salvation Army says they too are noticing about a 30 per cent increase in need this year, and donations are behind what they’ve been in previous years.

“I’ve stood on some kettles this Christmas and folks have said ‘I gave last year. I just can’t afford to give this year’,” said Major Keith Pike with the organization. “We are finding more and more families are finding that pinch they’re finding it tighter to make those ends meet.”

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The non-profit’s annual kettle campaign in the Maritimes has only brought in 48 per cent of their 2 million dollar fundraising goal.

“Last year we were a little bit ahead, this year we’re a little less than we were last year, but we think we can make it up,” said Pike.

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But if they fall short this year it will mean some tough decisions.

“We would have to reassess what the next year would look like, it’s tough because we’d have to decide what are the crucial elements of the work that we do,” said Pike.

It’s something that Parker Street is already experiencing. The organization has put a pause on applications for their emergency fund, which helps individuals pay for heating, power bills and medical prescriptions. The organization has seen an increase in applications and has had to temporarily close applications from December 9 to January 8 as they process existing applications.

While charities across the country are experiencing a challenging year, Pike says they’re appreciative of anyone who is able to donate any amount.

“We’re only ale to do this with the generosity of the people around us. We represent the thousands and thousands of people who give annually to us and other charities so we are able to do what we do simply because of their generosity so we’ll do the best with what we’re given.”

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