Whether it’s snowing, raining or the sun is shining, volunteers throughout Trail are committed to manning their stations during the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign.
In fact, the colder the better for Terry Jesudason, a 10-year church member who’s been standing outside an East Trail kettle site in 90-minute stints since 2004.
“I really love winter and I like being outside, which isn’t always easy for some of the people in our congregation,” she said.
“My theory for keeping my feet warm is I put a piece of blue styrofoam under that mat I stand on,” Jesudason explained. “I have all my Arctic gear from when I lived in the north so I really don’t feel the cold. And standing outside gives me the chance to meet a lot of people as they are going by.”
After moving back to her hometown of Trail following a 35-year absence, Jesudason had the idea to commit to volunteering and give back to the community, so joining the Salvation Army was a palpable choice.
She became involved in the kettle campaign that year, and over the past decade has heard countless recollections from passersby about the benevolence of the Salvation Army.
However, there’s one facet to ringing in kettle donations that has her awestruck year after year.
“To watch the small kids who come by, usually hand-in-hand with their parents is really fascinating,” she said. “They very tenderly want to put some money into the kettle. Learning to be kind and generous at a young age is something that just melts my heart.”
More than 100 volunteers have been working toward the Trail branch’s $32,000 goal since the kettle campaign launched three weeks ago.
The annual drive is about halfway to its target, confirmed Major Wilf Harbin on Tuesday, noting that about $16,000 has been raised to date.
All money raised stays local and is primarily used for Christmas hampers and the Salvation Army Family Services Program, housed on Rossland Avenue.
“We had about $1,000 more this time last year,” explained Harbin. “But it really seems to depend on the weather. The more it snows, the better it is for the kettles because people seem to be in a more festive spirit.”
Besides over 200 regular food hampers being handed up this month, an additional 300 Christmas hampers, laden with holiday goodies and new toys for children, have been organized for those in need.
“People come and see what they are getting and they have tears in their eyes,” said volunteer Linda Zol during Monday’s Christmas hamper day. “They just can’t believe it.”
The charitable campaign throughout the rest of Canada is also halfway to its national goal of raising $21 million this holiday season.
The kettles are manned through to Christmas Eve, and help local Salvation Army units provide vulnerable people with basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and other provisions throughout the year.