'Saskatoon far outdoes any other city': Donations picking up as holiday season approaches
As the second holiday season of the pandemic approaches, some charity organizations in the city are seeing an uptick in donations.
The Salvation Army Crossroads they is seeing more people donating handmade items like scarves, touques and mitts according to interim executive director Marc Cheriyan. The increase in homemade donations is coming from people who are looking for ways to give of themselves and their time more than other years.
“I don’t know if that’s a case of people trying to pass time during COVID or what have you, but it’s always appreciated and I think those always have a personal touch,” Cheriyan told CTV News.
The Salvation Army Crossroads collects clothing items like winter coats and boots and the storage areas are overflowing according to Cheriyan, partly because they need more volunteers, but also because “people are taking stock of what they have and what they need and what they don’t need they want to donate and pass on to other people.”
The United Way in Sasaktoon is seeing a similar trend. Resource development and engagement director Erica England says there is an increased need during the pandemic, but also an increase in donations with people in the city stepping up.
“I’ve been in the philanthropic world of Saskatoon for years and I know how generous this community is and we’re really careful about ensuring that people in our community are cared for and there’s so many people that want to make sure that they are offering support when they need them,” England told CTV News.
Major Judy Regamey with the Salvation Army can also attest to Saskatoon's unique giving style.. She has worked in numerous cities in Canada.
“Saskatoon far outdoes any other city I’ve been in,” Regamey says.
One of Canada’s largest cities held a campaign when she worked there and raised $60,000. In Saskatoon, they raised $350,000 last year and are hoping to surpass that this year, she says. Donations are up in our city compared to before the pandemic also. Regamey wouldn’t say which large city she’s referring to.
The famous Salvation Army kettle fundraisers have a new element this year with a tap option so donors can use their credit card rather than dealing with cash for those that feel safer with this method.
At the Saskatoon Foodbank and Learning Centre, executive director Laurie O’Connor is seeing an increase in generosity also as businesses want patrons to donate food and are requesting the blue food bank barrels and bins for their businesses.
“The calls for bins up until Christmas, we’re being inundated. It’s just amazing the response for that,” O’Connor said.
The one thing that has suffered according to organizations is the lack of large-scale fundraisers.