Economy putting pressure on Alberta charities

WATCH ABOVE: Charities across Alberta say they're feeling the pinch of the fragile economy. Michel Boyer reports.

EDMONTON – Charities across Alberta said they’re noticing pressure on the economy and it’s affecting their bottom line.

“It’s always a challenge for us and this year, it just seems that people are struggling a bit more,” said Pam Goodyear with the Salvation Army.

“We’re seeing more people come to us for services, probably more than ever before.”

Many seeking assistance have never needed to before.

The pressures aren’t only impacting families, but major charities aren’t able to hit fundraising targets.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation suspended its 2016 Alberta home lottery.

“The challenging Alberta market includes a large number of charity lotteries, and regrettably we were unable to meet our revenue expectations for last year’s lottery,” said Heart and Stroke Foundation CEO Donna Hastings in an email to donors.

In an email to Global News, a spokesperson added they believe they didn’t meet expectations due to the economic climate.

The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation launched its first lottery in 2015, and raised approximately $400,000 in net revenue for the organization.

A spokesperson said they’re happy with the amount raised; given it was the organization’s first fundraising effort of that kind.

Other experts said companies and individuals are more cautious about giving money to charities right now, many waiting to see what happens in the province over the next six months.

The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to help collect money this holiday season for its fundraising effort.

“We just really need people to get out there and help us ring the bells. Their efforts can really help us to raise the dollars we need to help people,” Goodyear said.

Adding Albertans are innately generous.

“Those who can give are really stepping up to that challenge and helping their neighbour,” she said.

The Edmonton Christmas Bureau is concerned with the number of applications it has received this holiday season, according to executive director Wendy Batty.

“It reminds me of 2008,” she said. “I’m worried when I hear about corporations laying off workers in northern Alberta, because that means our donors are without jobs now.”

She said if you can afford to give, consider giving a little bit more because there are a lot of people who need the help.

© 2015 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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