In a few days, residents of Greater Trail will soon hear the familiar tinkling of bells.
The Salvation Army kicked off its annual kettle campaign, and biggest fundraiser, at Ferraro Foods on Thursday.
Funds raised through donations made at the Christmas kettles help provide direct, hands-on service to almost four hundred local people.
The Salvation Army uses the money to host community holiday dinners and to organize food hampers that include gifts for children up to 16 years of age.
“Last year we gave out 375 food hampers and fed almost 400 people at Kate’s Kitchen,” said Major Wilf Harbin of the Trail Salvation Army branch.
“This year we are expecting to do even more.”
Even with the squeeze on the economy last year, Harbin said that the 2011 campaign was their most successful to date, raising $31,000.
“The last few years have been really good to us, even though the economy was doing poorly,” said Harbin.
The branch already has 165 volunteers to man the kettles, which will be located at the Waneta Plaza, Walmart, the liquor store in East Trail and on Pine Avenue outside Shopper’s Drug Mart.
The bell ringers will be working daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., until Christmas Eve.
“This year we have a Christmas gift tree in Shopper’s Drug Mart.
“The cards on the tree will have the age of a child for a gift donation to the family’s Christmas hamper,” said Harbin.
The Salvation Army will have a food hamper at the mall beside the kettle, as the branch reports a trend similar to the local food banks.
“We are seeing more and more working families having a difficult time making ends meet,” said Harbin.
Anyone wishing to volunteer or make a donation can call the branch at 250-368-3515 for more information.
The Salvation Army has been in the news lately for the theft in Toronto where as many as 100,000 toys were stolen over an almost two-year period from the charity’s warehouse.
Spokesman John Murray says the response from people wanting to help replace the toys has been overwhelming.
Harold Chizick of the Toronto toy company Spin Master says when the company heard the news, it knew it had to do something.
So it’s donating more than $100,000 worth of toys to the Salvation Army.
With files from CP