TRURO, N.S. – With the creation of debit cards, tap-to-pay and systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay, carrying cash has become rare in today’s society.
For non-profits like the Salvation Army, though, the lack of cash-on-hand is leaving them coming up short.
“I think this year is a bit worse than other years,” said Andrew Wilson, senior pastor of the Salvation Army, on the lack of Christmas Kettle donations.
“We are behind our goal this year. Right now we are just shy of $40,000, but our goal for the year was $60,000 and we only have a few days left unfortunately.”
As the kettle campaign sets to wrap up Christmas Day, it’s not just the local chapter who are behind either.
In a report released Thursday on the Salvation Army’s website, the organization’s kettle campaign is $5 million short of their yearly goal nation-wide, and with only a few days left, the possibility of reaching that goal seems sparse.
In the Maritimes alone, the kettle campaign is behind its goal by $620,000. The goal was to match last year’s collection amount of $1.9 million.
“I believe there are a couple factors contributing to the low collections, one being cash itself,” said Wilson.
“I think the lack of cash being carried on people nowadays is hurting the campaign. Not a lot of people have cash on hand anymore; as a matter of fact I don’t even carry cash, it’s all debit and credit. I feel that’s impacting us the most right now.”
Over the last few years, the Salvation Army has adapted with the changing times by creating new ways to donate to the kettle campaign online, via text message, or through a downloadable app for smartphones, but for smaller communities like Truro, those services can get expensive or be overlooked.
“The kettle thing is problematic because it is an old, traditional way of collecting money,” said Wilson.
“I’ve had so many people come to me and say, ‘Oh sorry, I don’t have cash. You should get one of those tap things.’ It’s a struggle, and I think we as an organization, we need to look into different ways to do this.”
While the just under $40,000 of donations collected from the kettle campaign in Truro may seem like a sizable amount, not reaching the goal means the Army’s operating costs for next year will take a substantial hit.
“It’s a lot more than just a Christmas effort on our part; it’s basically a major part of our operating budget for us in Truro for the year,” said Wilson.
“Our budget is about 225,000 a year to operate. We have our thrift store that tries to generate revenue as well, but when you have all these programs, services and the people needed to run them to pay for, it becomes very expensive.
“With the kettle representing $60,000 of that budget, not reaching that is going to impact us all year.”
While the chances of hitting their goal look slim this year, the support they continue to receive from the community is outstanding.
“I find Truro is tremendously supportive of us for some reason,” said Wilson.
“The Army has been here for a long time, and the community really seems to look to us for support, but the support we get back is amazing. We always have lots of people come in the door and donate outside of the kettles, so we are getting good support there, which is just amazing”