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Maritime charities kick off holiday fundraisers as need for help rises

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As non-profit groups around the Maritimes launch holiday fundraisers, there’s an expectation more people will need help and fewer will be able to donate.

Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank is collecting money and food for its Christmas Hamper Program in Halifax. Executive director Denise Daley said as many as 1,000 hampers may be needed next month, with the organization’s clientele growing steadily all year.

“We’ve seen a significant increase,” says Daley. “We’ve increased to now 100 food boxes per day, versus 60-to-80 per day.

“In August alone we had over 300 new registrations to the food bank.”

The United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick is kicking off its Gift Card Tree Raffle in support of 25 different community programs. Mischka Jacobs, the local United Way’s resource development manager, says the group’s community fund will see added pressure in the weeks to come to run alongside other ongoing issues.

“We’re seeing a huge growing population amongst youth who are homeless or are housing insecure,” says Jacobs.

The Salvation Army Hope Community Church and Family Services in Saint John has set its annual Christmas kettle campaign goal at $215,000 to help 300 local families. Lieutenant Jason Brinson of the Salvation Army says people always make an effort to give what they can, even in tough economic times.

“It’s phenomenal how people will come together and rally together at this time of year to support those in need,” says Brinson.

The Empty Stocking Fund in Saint John is setting the stage for a comeback, a year after it was cancelled.

Bill Dorey, an organizer of the relaunched event, says residents feel strongly about the fund and its return.

“We want this to be a community driven initiative going forward,” says Dorey. “We don’t want any one corporate entity to own it, like has happened in the past.”

The Joshua Group is managing and distributing money raised under the Empty Stocking Fund banner. A live telethon has been scheduled Dec. 10 at Simonds High School in Saint John.

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