MORE than 300 people participated in Sunday’s Red Shield Appeal throughout Orange, but the donations were well down on previous years.
The appeal in Orange raised $58,957 last year, but Major Greg Saunders said this year’s tally would reach about $38,000.
Despite rises in the number of donations from Parkes and Forbes, Major Saunders attributed the drop to a shortfall of walkers - 400 were needed to cover the whole of Orange - and a reduction in the level of donations residents were willing to give.
He said allegations involving the Salvation Army as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse could have contributed.
“We were bracing for a hit, but we’ve done our best,” he said.
However, the cause was carried with enthusiasm by those who did participate in the appeal.
Service organisation members, sponsors and residents volunteered as drivers for teenagers recruited by their schools.
For Rotary Club of Orange North members David Provost and Michael Tindale and Orange Lions Club member Peter Fuge, it was a different way to contribute to the community.
“Sometimes you’re allocated an area and you think there’s going to be no money donated and it’s surprising how much you collect,” Mr Provost said.
“Most people expect you to come and they are ready,” Mr Fuge said.
Alison Bennett took part as a driver for two students, along with her husband and two children. It was her fourth year participating.
“I felt it was a worthy cause,” she said.
“It’s a respectable organisation that does amazing things for people less fortunate.”
Participating school students agreed it was a good way to help the community and wanted to raise as much as possible.
“It’s something to do and a way to meet new people,” Daniel Simpson said.
“It’s better than study,” Charlie Mitton said with a laugh.