Moncton turkey drive confronted hardest yr in over 20 years – New Brunswick

The Sue Stultz turkey drive has just faced its most challenging year by far since its inception in 1991.

As a long-standing Christmas tradition in Moncton, they’ve never had trouble collecting the required amount of turkeys until now.

Though they were able to collect 3,322 turkeys — 10 more than their target of 3,312 — at the end of the day on Tuesday, they were 1,000 turkeys short at the planned end of their campaign on Friday.

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Organizer Sue Stultz believes inflation is partly to blame for this year’s challenges.

“The price of turkeys have gone up, actually in most cases it’s doubled. So the family that was bringing in four can only afford to bring in two this year,” she said.

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Moncton resident Dee Fraser donates to the cause every year. She says it wasn’t easy finding a turkey.

“We’d looked at a couple of different places. The one that we bought is a stuffed turkey but I’m sure it will help a needy family,” Fraser said.

Donations on the decline

A study released by the Fraser Institute on Tuesday indicated that the rate of charitable donations in Atlantic Canada is well below the already declining national average.

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The study based its findings on information about charitable tax receipts provided the the Canada Revenue Agency.

“We found nationally that the percentage of tax filers donating in Canada has actually hit a 20 year low,” said Jake Fuss, a senior economist at the institute.

He explained the study is based on the most recent available data, which is from 2019. That’s before the economic impacts of the pandemic, like supply chain issues and the housing crisis, came into effect.

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He expects we’ll see much steeper declines in the data from 2020 and 2021.

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“We’re expecting charitable donations to go down even further across the country, as families are more strapped for resources and facing financial difficulties,” he said.

For Sue Stultz, these hard times only mean there is a greater need to give.

“People are more in need now than I think we ever knew,” Stultz said.

The turkey drive is a joint effort with the Moncton Fire Department.

Lonnie Gélinas, a firefighter volunteering his time to help with the effort, said lending a hand was important.

“As firefighters we get to see a lot of families in distress, and it’s amazing to see how many families go without. They have to decide between turkeys and presents for their kids.”

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