Yukoners were imbued with the spirit of goodwill this holiday season as the Salvation Army in Whitehorse easily exceeded its fundraising goal of $75,000.
As it stands, the non-profit raised about $84,000 from Nov. 20 to Dec. 24, according to executive director Ian McKenzie. That’s still with one day left to count, he added.
“I’m really pleased,” McKenzie said, “particularly when some national media outlets reported that giving was down in other parts of the country.
“Last year’s campaign raised about $72,000. We’ve done quite well here in Whitehorse.
“It reflects the generosity of the people in the area.”
The funds will go towards supporting the shelter, meals and drop-in programs in Whitehorse.
One reason behind the increase is that volunteers were out six days a week this year, as opposed to four in previous years, McKenzie said.
About 1,600 hours of volunteer time had to be filled this holiday season. Each shift was two hours.
It’s hard to get the exact number of volunteers that gave time to the organization this year, McKenzie explains, because some people did multiple shifts.
“We were looking for about 800 slots to be filled throughout the campaign and we were at about 90 per cent the whole time,” he added.
Meanwhile, construction of the new Salvation Army shelter remains on schedule, McKenzie said.
The building, to be located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Black Street, is expected to have 25 emergency beds and 22 transitional beds.
The current shelter has 14 beds, and often operates at 200 per cent capacity, with additional mats placed on the floor in common areas.
“The expectation is that the shelter will be opening some time in late fall of 2016,” McKenzie said.
“The warmer weather has been really helpful as it’s enabled them (the construction crew) to pour and have the concrete settle faster than normal at this time of year.”
So far this year, the Salvation Army has served more than 50,000 meals and has provided 5,200 bed-nights in both the men’s and women’s shelters.
Contact Myles Dolphin at