Christmas Kettle Campaign launched in Fort McMurray

The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray seeks community support

By KIRAN MALIK-KHAN, Connect Weekly

Major Stephen Hibbs of The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray with Miss Sally Ann, Trudy Malone and Major Elaine Hibbs at the Christmas Kettle Campaign kick-off held on November 14 at the Peter Pond Mall and kettles are now placed throughout Fort McMurray. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Major Stephen Hibbs of The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray with Miss Sally Ann, Trudy Malone and Major Elaine Hibbs at the Christmas Kettle Campaign kick-off held on November 14 at the Peter Pond Mall and kettles are now placed throughout Fort McMurray. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Holidays are around the corner, and with that The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray’s iconic Kettle Campaign has been launched as of November 14, 2015. The kick-off event was held at Peter Pond Mall, and saw Deputy Mayor Jane Stroud, and Councillor Phil Meagher in attendance.

Christmas Kettle Campaign is the group’s annual fundraiser to support local families, a need that has skyrocketed given this year’s economic downturn. Joan Nobles, Program Manager for The Salvation Army explains.

“Local families and individuals come to The Salvation Army often at a point of desperation; a last resort, hoping that we can provide emergency assistance to their challenge. Many, especially in this past year have been seeking financial assistance for overdue rent and utility bills, prescriptions, etc. With the loss of jobs, families and individuals are struggling in our community to make ends meet and to provide for their families.”

“Although the financial assistance we do provide is in the short term and limited, we try to meet the needs, as they are presented. If we cannot help fully, we do not hesitate in referring to agency offices who can.”

“Although the financial assistance we do provide is in the short term and limited, we try to meet the needs, as they are presented. If we cannot help fully, we do not hesitate in referring to agency offices who can. When a person presents their concerns to our Community & Family Services workers, it is not unusual for them to walk away with far more than what they expected; a listening ear from someone who cares, additional supports and perhaps even referrals.”

Nobles adds, the Community & Family Services program sees up to 100 families and individuals weekly – a majority with financial requests.

“These requests come from my neighbours and yours. Funds collected through the Christmas Kettle Campaign, a long-standing, traditional fundraiser of The Salvation Army remain in the region to assist local families.”

Trudy Malone, Christmas Kettle Coordinator for the Salvation Army says the group needs volunteers as well.

“Many hands make light work and the Christmas season is a great time to give generously as we have received. Giving two hours is simple and convenient. Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. We have had a great response from everyone in the community so far, but need more people,” shares Malone.

“With the economic downturn, a job loss can happen to anyone. And when it happens it’s not only a shock, but a person has to come to terms with many major decisions that are difficult to cope with. I think those of us who are still fortunate enough to be employed need to consider how grateful we are and give of our time for our family, friends and neighbours who are suffering losses,” she said.

When we give, it is easier to receive when we need it, and we are all vulnerable whether we admit it or not. There are times when we all need help during our lives. When we are prosperous, it is a time to give. When we are in need, it is a time to receive.”

Nobles concludes, “The Salvation Army normally asks our community for assistance once, perhaps twice a year. We value your kindness and generosity because without you, our resources would certainly be limited. Thank you for your past support. Please continue to “Help Us Help Others!”

The Christmas Kettle Campaign will run until December 24 with kettles placed around grocery stores, Canadian Tire, Walmart, and Peter Pond Mall as well as at the Christmas Trade Show. To volunteer, contact Trudy at 780-646-0981.

– Connect Weekly –