Community digs deep in kettle campaign’s final days

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

SALVATION ARMY

Avid Christmas Kettle Campaign volunteer Mary Slogland at the Superstore on December 8, 2015. The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray said she was always very willing to fill in and help out when needed and on short notice. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Wrapping up just five per cent shy from their fundraising goal, the Salvation Army of Fort McMurray is celebrating the $180,592 success of their Christmas Kettle Campaign.

The campaign kicked off on November 14, 2015 at the Peter Pond Mall and kettles were placed with volunteers in several locations around the city. On December 11, 2015, the Salvation Army issued a community release stating they were at 65 per cent of their $190K goal mark.

With the deadline on Christmas Eve vastly approaching, businesses and local residents delivered 30 per cent of donations in two weeks.

“That makes the end result more amazing as to the way people in Fort McMurray dug deeper into their pockets to help us give to those less fortunate,” said Christmas Kettle Coordinator Trudy Malone.

Malone explains how the Salvation Army’s annual kettle campaign helps fund several initiatives, which are 100 per cent local.

“The donations stay in Fort McMurray and are used all year-long by family services for those who are suffering losses in their life – whether that be a loss of a spouse, a job, or home,” said Malone. “By God’s grace and the way the community pulled together, we have resources to meet those needs.”

Last year, the Salvation Army struggled with challenges after a break-in occurred during the 2014 Campaign on December 8. This cost the organization $7,500 in damages. With the last year’s overall goal at the same $190,000 amount, the organization still fell short of an estimate $30,000.

In comparison to the previous year, Malone shared she believes there were two significant changes that made a difference.

“One of the managers at a local Scotia Bank branch called me and offered to take our kettle deposits uncounted,” she said. “The staff at the branch volunteered their time in the morning to do all that work for us and give us a report.”

“One of the managers at a local Scotia Bank branch called me and offered to take our kettle deposits uncounted,” she said. “The staff at the branch volunteered their time in the morning to do all that work for us and give us a report. This saved all the staff, both paid and volunteer, at the Salvation Army about two hours a day.”

An additional change was the help from a hired runner, who delivered and picked up the kettles at their locations. Malone shared this alleviated much of her time and allowed her to solely focus on meeting, greeting and scheduling more volunteers for the campaign.

“With all of this team work, it was a joy to put together the giant jigsaw puzzle of filling the gaps in the daily calendar,” she said. “Each year is slightly different with all the variables and as everyone learns what is efficient and what isn’t.”

Though the campaign has been wrapped up since December 24, 2015, the Salvation Army of Fort McMurray is still accepting donations to help fill the $9,000 gap. If you would like to make a donation arrangement, please contact Trudy Malone at 780-791-3234 or by email at Trudy_Malone@can.salvationarmy.org

– Connect Weekly –