Christmas is the season for giving, and for many people that includes giving to The Salvation Army every year.
The non-profit, Christian organization officially kicked off its annual Christmas Kettle campaign in Tillsonburg on Saturday.
Every year, The Salvation Army works to help the needy and provide for those less fortunate, especially at Christmas time.
“It seems to be tougher this year for a lot of people,” said kettle coordinator Patricia VanWagner. “With the poor economy and rising costs.
“The Christmas kettle campaign is a great cause, it’s for the people of Tillsonburg,” she added. “I think that means a lot.”
This year the Salvation Army Christmas Kettles will be placed in several spots around town, including two new locations. Dedicated kettle volunteers can be seen at Zehrs, Metro, Sobey’s, Walmart (in the Town Centre Mall), Home Hardware and Shoppers Drug Mart.
Members of the public will be able to give at any of the six locations around Tillsonburg, in addition to the traditional mail-in donations and the online initiative, now in its third year, at www.fillthekettle.com.
The Christmas Kettle campaign officially began at stores at10 a.m. on Saturday November 17 and will run until 3 p.m. on December 24, 2012.
“We’re hoping to raise $45,000 again this year and maybe we’ll exceed it,” said VanWagner. “The money goes directly to help with supplying services, food and local programs to assist people and families in our community.”
Nation-wide, The Salvation Army raised $21 million dollars through its Christmas Kettle campaign last year.
“Tillsonburg is a generous town when it comes to helping its own,” she added.
“All donations collected this season through the kettle campaign remain here and help those in our community.”
Christmas Kettles have been a long-standing tradition in Canada and play a vital role in the organization’s success and ability to provide for the needy and less fortunate throughout the year.
For the past couple of years, social media and the internet have also played a role in helping raise funds through the Christmas Kettle campaign. The public is again encouraged to become a ‘virtual’ bell-ringer by hosting their own online kettle - the ‘ikettle’ is an easy to use online tool that allows participants to customize their own ikettle webpage and invite others, via email to donate to the Salvation Army. Those who are not able to make it to a kettle location in Tillsonburg, may also donate to the campaign online.
“I think it’s a very good campaign – it’s helping a lot of people in the community,” VanWagner said of the campaign’s impact. “We have to thank the many volunteers and other people who donate to the Salvation Army as well. They’re contributing what they can give and we’re so thankful for it.”
The Salvation Army plays an important role in communities across Canada today, and provides not only programs, services and food but also gives individuals and families facing hardships and struggles, support and encouragement.
“We give hope. We’re thankful to be there for so many and to be able to help these people,” said VanWagner. “Otherwise, where would they go - they know we’re here to help.”
The Christmas Kettle campaign is looking for more volunteers. If you would like to give a few hours of your time, call The Salvation Army at: (519) 403-4048 or (519) 842-3231