A Salvation Army donation stand, with it’s new electronic donation method advertised on it, sits in the Independent grocery store on Nov. 16. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse Salvation Army falls $9k short of its kettle campaign goal

The organization had aimed to raise $80,000 during its annual kettle campaign in 2018

The Salvation Army’s 2018 kettle campaign in Whitehorse fell nearly $9,000 short of its goal, according to executive director Ian McKenzie — but with the future of the Christian charity’s presence in the city still to be determined, the figure will now serve as a guideline instead of a shortfall.

The total for the 2018 kettle campaign was $71,082 and “a few cents,” McKenzie said in a Dec. 31 interview, a few thousand dollars short of the $80,000 goal the Salvation Army had set when it launched the campaign in mid-November.

That goal was the highest in the Whitehorse Salvation Army’s history and was set in part because of the “really good year” the kettle campaign had in 2017, McKenzie said, when Yukoners donated $101,000.

While that total was unusually high and boosted by several large, anonymous donations, McKenzie acknowledged that in past years, the kettle campaign has raised figures in the mid-$70,000 range, so the 2018 outcome was a little disappointing.

“We didn’t reach that goal that we had hoped to,” he said.

McKenzie attributed the lower-than-expected total to a lower volunteer response earlier on in the season.

“For the first couple of weeks the kettles were out, we didn’t have really full coverage on the kettles that we would have liked,” he said.

While this past season also saw the introduction of debit-credit card terminals alongside the traditional kettles, giving shoppers the option of donating via plastic as well as cash, the initiative didn’t appear to have a large impact, with less than $1,000 coming in via plastic.

But with the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope centre in downtown Whitehorse set to be transferred to the Yukon government by the end of the month, McKenzie said it was hard to say whether the $71,082 raised would be enough to support the organization’s operations.

“At this stage, we’re still looking at, or starting to look at how we’re going to be serving in the community (after January),” McKenzie said.

“Our intention is to continue to be active here in the Whitehorse community and we’ll be looking at ways that we can provide services that perhaps aren’t already available in the community or different ways we can serve the people. So the funds that we raised at the kettles will be applied to whatever new programming we come up with for 2019.”

The organization will likely be looking at operating out of its current church building on Black Street, he said, and while there won’t be room for residential programming, there’s space to host other kinds of activities or services. The organization is also currently in the process of getting its old shelter ready for sale.

The Salvation Army is still grateful for the donations it did receive and the people who volunteered their time to man the kettles, McKenzie added.

“We’re very thankful for the support of the people of Whitehorse and area in our kettle campaign, both those who volunteered and those who made contributions … A big thank you to those who gave and those who volunteered,” he said.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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