Christmas spirit is the only qualification needed to man the Salvation Army kettles.
When the Trail church’s annual Christmas Kettle Campaign kicks off Friday at Ferraro Foods, Major Ginny Kristensen will still have 175 bell ringer shifts to fill – so she’s looking for merry volunteers.
The outdoor stints are 90 minutes at Canadian Tire or the East Trail liquor store and two hours at Trail Walmart.
“People can get involved in a number of ways,” Kristensen told the Trail Times. “They can volunteer for shifts on the kettles but the best way to help us this holiday season is to donate at a kettle or go online and donate at salvationarmy.ca.”
New this year is the option of businesses or organizations partnering with the Salvation Army to become a “Hero for Hope” to those in need.
“You can donate, sponsor a kettle for an event or for the entire season, or volunteer as a bell ringer,“ she said. “Donations collected are used in the community where they are given to fund vital programming, practial assistance and client support.”
Kettles will start appearing around town today, and next weekend, the church joins BC Transit at Trail Ferraro Foods for its annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign. The community is asked to help fill a bus with non-perishable food items on Friday Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Saturday Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. All donations are in support of the Salvation Army Food Bank, located in the Gulch.
After a hallmark Kettle Campaign last year, more than $30,000 was raised, Kristensen says funds were used during the Christmas season and stretched into 2018 to help feed the less fortunate from the Rossland Avenue pantry.
“That was the best year we ever had, the community was wonderful, ” she said. “The money went towards Christmas hampers to ensure everyone who needed a hamper was able to get one. And then any funds that were left over were used throughout the year to support Kate’s Kitchen and the food bank.”
Provincially, the campaign goal is to raise $4 million in an effort to feed, cloth and shelter individuals and families in desperate need of support this season.
Locally, the goal is to raise $30,000 through the Kettle Campaign.
“In addition, you will soon be seeing our mail campaign letters,” Kristensen explained, noting that target is $80,000. “Funds raised during the Christmas Kettle Campaign will stay local to provide individuals and families the basic necessities such as food, clothing, and other provisions – not only over the holidays but throughout the entire year. “
This 2017 campaign is important due to the increase in demand for services, she stressed.
“As the cost of living continues to rise, an estimated 10 per cent of our population will live at or below the poverty line this year and turn to the services provided by The Salvation Army as a result.”
For more information or to volunteer,contact Major Ginny Kristensen at 250.512.7400 or 250.368.3515.