The generous are digging less into their pockets for Christmas charities this year.
Several campaigns that support underprivileged families in the Central Okanagan have seen fewer donations during the first half of December than last year. They're hoping next week -typically the busiest - will push them closer to their financial goals.
"People are struggling," said Lenetta Parry of the Kelowna Food Bank. "They're giving what they can. The average person with the average job is finding the cost of living is higher - the price of gas, the price of food and housing."
The food bank expects to hand out 1,200 Christmas hampers over three days next week. It supports about 1,000 children under 14, but has raised just 40 per cent of its campaign target.
"We're a long way from achieving our goal of $500,000 in food and funds," said Parry. "A lot of people might be in a position where they'd give more if they had more disposable income."
The local Salvation Army just passed the halfway mark toward its financial goal for the season. Many are telling Major Ron Cartmell they aren't yet in the Christmas spirit.
"The last week is often quite strong, but it's really going to have to be strong to get us to where we need to be," he said Friday. "Year after year we've been in difficult spots, but the community continues to come through for us."
Donations to The Daily Courier's and Penticton Herald's Be an Angel campaigns are also coming in more slowly. The goal is to raise $130,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan and Valley food banks.
December accounts for 80 per cent of the Kelowna Food Bank's annual donations.
"Christmas puts a huge dent in our inventory and donations drop off completely in January. It is critical that we reach our campaign goals," said executive director Vonnie Lavers.
Each Christmas hamper contains turkey, fresh produce, canned goods and treats, plus toys and gifts. Families with kids receive a new toy, stuffed animal, book, mittens, toque and stocking stuffers for each child.
People can donate non-perishable items at numerous events, including a Dance Fiesta at Kelowna's Rotary Centre for the Arts tonight and the Bottega market and art show on Sallows Road this weekend.
- Kelowna Family Christmas Skate from 3-5 p.m. Sunday at Rutland Arena;
- Christmas Charity Light Tour Sunday evening; bus leaves the Delta Grand hotel at 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.;
- Future Shop's Fill the Van fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
"We wish to thank everyone who has helped contribute to our campaign thus far. We simply cannot do the work we do without your
ongoing help and support," Lavers said.