Bell ringers brought in $36,000+ for the Trail Salvation Army Church during the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Greater Trail steps up at the Christmas kettles

Between the mail-in and Trail kettle campaign, about $108,500 was donated for food bank services

“Every person in Trail is a ‘Hero for Hope’ in my eyes,” says Major Ginny Kristensen of the Trail Salvation Army Church.

The spiritual leader was speaking about the community’s outpouring for the Christmas Kettle Campaign and mail-in donation drive, which collectively brought in $108,500 to help meet local need.

The final tally at the kettles was just over $36,000, well surpassing its $30,000 goal.

And, to date, $72,500 has been mailed in to the East Trail church.

“The people of Trail are amazing,” Kristensen said. “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of this community.”

Although the Christmas mail-in campaign fell short of its $100,000 mark, between the two campaigns and goodwill from community businesses, Kristensen says the church should be in good shape for the year.

“All Pro Realty was amazing with their Toy Drive, and Trail Transit’s ‘Stuff the Bus’ was a great boost and greatly appreciated,” she added.

“Everyone stepped up and gave as they were able – every donation is greatly appreciated and means so much to us. It is only through the assistance of our friends and neighbours that we are able to continue to offer hope to others.”

Money from both campaigns is used primarily for hampers – 282 Christmas hampers were distributed last month in addition to 300+ regular food hampers – as well as a children’s lunch program and free meals at the Rossland Avenue soup kitchen.

“We provide food hampers for hundreds of families through the month,” says Linda Radtke from Salvation Army Family Services. “We also provide about 1,500 meals at Kate’s Kitchen each month and we provide school lunches for more than 60 children.”

So what would happen if the community didn’t pitch in so generously especially during Christmas?

“If we didn’t have the community stepping up and helping during Christmas we’d be in sorry shape,” Radtke said. “We’d probably have to close our doors.”

Every day, the Gulch food bank disperses between 12 and 15 hampers, which adds up to about 300 monthly or at least 3,600 food hampers annually.

“We are saved by the grace of the people,” Radtke shared. “So I would like to say a big thank you, I’m so proud to be from a community that is so community-minded, it’s just wonderful.”

“Hero for Hope” was introduced this Christmas, whereby businesses or individuals could sponsor a kettle for an event or for the entire season.

“All donations stay local,” Kristensen said. “Donations collected are used in the community where they are given to fund vital programming, practical assistance and client support.”

Holiday generosity this season led to record-breaking donations for the Nelson Salvation Army.

The local chapter took in approximately $105,000 in December during its holiday fundraising push, according to minister Robin Borrows. That’s the most money ever taken in during one month by the charity, and smashes the previous mark of $92,000 donated in December 2016.

– with files from the Nelson Star

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