Fill the kettle and help change a life

By Lindsay Ducharme

‘Tis the season to be…giving! The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray is hoping Wood Buffalo residents will embrace the spirit of the season by supporting their 2014 Christmas Kettle Campaign, both financially and through volunteering.

“The Kettle campaign is a campaign we have been doing for a number of years here in Fort McMurray,” said Major Stephen Hibbs, Corps Officer and executive director, The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray.

“Human dignity is a fundamental right. This is why we solicit the help of our community to fill the kettle and help change a life. The dollars raised through the Kettle campaign are used to bring hope and dignity to all people, especially at Christmas time, by providing Christmas hampers and gifts for families in need and also emergency food and clothing throughout the year. So when you see the Salvation Army kettle this holiday season, please give generously,” he continued.

This year the kettles will be located in seven locations throughout the city including Superstore downtown, Sobeys in Thickwood, Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Extra Foods, Save On Foods and Peter Pond Mall.

The Salvation Army is also appealing to the public to consider volunteering to man the kettles throughout the campaign, stressing that only two hours can make a world of difference to families in the region who depend on the services offered by the organization.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to volunteer for a worthy cause, and of course the greater number of people who volunteer the greater the chance we have of raising more money for the campaign,” Hibbs explained. “The funds that are raised through the campaign go into our Community and Family Services program which helps us through Christmas time and then all year round. In order for us to help others and continue to offer the services that we do, at the quality that we do, we depend on community support to help us.”

“Without a doubt, the busiest time of the year for The Salvation Army is at Christmas time and this year will be no exception. Many of our neighbours are struggling to make ends meet and daily look to The Salvation Army for assistance. With a myriad of requests, such as rent, security deposit assistance, utilities, prescriptions, bus passes, work boots, clothing and work courses, travel, and school fees etc., The Salvation Army Family Services Department stands in the gap to meet such needs,” added Joan Nobles, Program Manager for The Salvation Army.

The Christmas Kettle Campaign, which operates under the motto ‘fill a kettle help change a life’, will kick off on Saturday, November 22nd at the centre court of the Peter Pond Shopping Centre at 1:00 p.m.  The event festivities will include speeches from Mayor Melissa Blake and local MLA’s, caroling and a visit from the big guy himself, Santa Claus. The campaign will continue through to Christmas Eve at 2:00 p.m.

Last year’s Kettle campaign raised $175,000 to help support over 5000 families through The Salvation Army’s Community and Family Services program. This year The Salvation Army has set their sights even higher, setting a goal of $190,000.

Those interested in participating in the Kettle Campaign through volunteering can call Verna Thomas at 780-791-3234. For more information on the Christmas Kettle Campaign follow The Salvation Army on Twitter, @SalvArmyYMM, or like them on Facebook.