Donations to the 2016 Mission Christmas Bureau campaign are down this year, and Phil Hope believes the recent cold snap has a lot to do with it.
Hope, the coordinator of the Mission Food Centre and Christmas Bureau, said the snow has not only impacted donations, but registrations as well.
So far, about 500 registrations for hampers have been processed. Last year, there were 629.
“We’re doing pretty good, considering the weather,” said Hope. “People are still coming in to register, but a lot of people are saying they can’t get in.”
Due to this difficulty, the bureau has extended the registration period to Dec. 23.
Hope said about three-quarters of the people who apply for hampers rely on someone else to get them to the Christmas Bureau office, located in the Junction Mall (32555 London Ave.) beside The Source.
“Either they find a ride, or they walk.”
The cold weather and icy roads have also affected donations.
Hope said several fundraising events were cancelled last weekend because of the snowfall, including the firefighters’ neighbourhood collection and the final day of the Festival of Trees.
“I’m hoping the weather will start to warm up and people who want to donate will be able to come in,” Hope said.
While donations are a bit low, Hope said there is still a week and a half to go and there is always a big push just before Christmas.
“It’s not desperate yet, but it’s a little worrisome.”
He said money is the biggest issue. So far about $50,000 in cash donations have been received, which is about half of the amount needed.
They are also low on gifts for teens and for babies ago newborn to one.
“We need formula, toys and clothing,” Hope said.
He is hopeful that people will come to the bureau office at the Junction and make a donation.
For the first time, organizers have acquired a portable debit machine, so Hope said donations can be made on debit or credit cards. He also said any donation over $25 comes with a tax receipt.
The next fundraiser for the bureau is on Saturday, when the West Coast Express Santa Train runs. Riders can bring a gift or cash donation to receive a return ticket.