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However, this year’s efforts only brought in approximately 11,000 pounds, and that won’t be enough to make it through the winter. The Salvation Army in Fort St. John serves between 80 to 130 meals a day, and served 53,000 meals last year. The fundraising goal for the holiday season is $200,000 plus whatever the food drives bring in.

In order to not have to dip into reserve money, the organization is now relying on its other fundraising campaigns to sustain its work. That includes the Christmas Kettle Drive, which has two extra kettles out this year, the Troyer Toy Drive, and efforts by local businesses and schools. The more those campaigns make, the less the Salvation Army has to purchase itself.

The Fort St. John Salvation Army has been considered self-sustaining since 2005, which means that it needs to have 3 months of its operating budget in the bank at all times, which amounts to $325,000. At this point, Captain Ben Lippers says he’s not worried, but that they’re “just there” when it comes to their budget. When they only raised $183,000 last year, the group had to dip into its savings, something Lippers hopes they don’t have to do again this year, saying, “We just pray that we up a little on other (campaigns) and go forward.”

The Red Kettle campaign continues at businesses around the city until December 24, 2011. The 7th Annual Troyer Toy Drive takes place December 9th and 10th at Home Hardware Building Centre.

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