Donation shortfalls is forcing the Maple Ridge Salvation Army to consider some drastic cuts to services.
The local branch of the Salvation Army has seen a drop of more than $50,000 in donations year-to-date. To make up for the lack of funding, the Salvation Army’s Caring Place is weighing its options whether to scale back its nightly meal services or eliminate opening its doors for its morning drop-in program.
Darrell Pilgrim, executive director of the Caring Place, said there is no other options but to scale back services in the wake of the shortfalls.
“It’s difficult enough to have to make these decisions, but if there’s no money. We simply can’t do it,” said Pilgrim.
He said if cuts are made on its nightly meals service, the doors will be closed up to three nights a week.
Caring Place serves about 150 people on a nightly basis for its dinner program.
If it chooses to eliminate it’s morning drop-in program, it would take its toll on some of he community’s most vulnerable, especially during the winter, said Pilgrim.
“One of the biggest problems for our clients is isolation, so the drop-in provides them a place to go not only to come in from the cold but a place where they can socialize with other members of the community.”
One of the biggest drops in funding was this year’s annual Kettle Campaign and it’s yearly mail-out to homes in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. The Kettle campaign raised $81,000, falling short of it’s $92,000 goal. The mail-out program missed the mark by $15,000.
Pilgrim said it’s not clear why the fundraising efforts came up short, but he suspects it has to do with the overall health of the B.C. economy.
It’s hard for us to know why the numbers are down for us,” he said. “It could be just an economy thing. There’s a lot of different organizations out there looking for funding and the cost of living is going up but salaries aren’t.”
Pilgrim said some initial cuts have already taken place, with a reduction in support staffing and hours.
Pilgrim said they have been in contact with other community partners looking for advice on what cuts should be made. Either way, it’s going to mean less for those who need it most, he said.
“We still want to be able to serve the community the best we can but unfortunately we have to make a tough decision.”
The cuts come at a time when the Salvation Army is preparing for its third annual Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser, set for Saturday, Feb. 21 starting at 4 p.m.
Year to date
For 2015, year-to-date services provided by The Salvation Army Caring Place:
• 170 bagged lunches daily for school children;
• 223 backpacks for children in September
• 50 children to Camp Sunrise on the Sunshine Coast;
• 57,876 meals to families, seniors and individuals in Community Meal Program.
• 64 Individuals housed
• 46 Individuals sent to treatment.