Tis the time to give. The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettles are out in full swing.
Major Debbie Allen, Salvation Army Church’s pastor, says the kettles are the organization’s main fundraising effort for their Christmas Hamper Program as well as all the things that Salvation Army Food Bank does throughout the year.
Allen says this year marks her fifth Christmas in Parry Sound, adding over that time the Salvation Army was able to raise between $30,000 to $40,000 a year with the kettles program.
“The money goes towards our community services which involves the food bank and Christmas hampers. We also send kids to camp, do some counseling, have also our Friday night Ministries where we teach people on the street. All that is funded through what we raised on the Christmas hampers, the radiothon and our Mailer campaign,” she says.
Allen says there are kettles out at No Frills, Sobeys and Walmart regularly and occasionally at the LCBO.
She says volunteers are out Wednesday to Friday, adding these days they also have tap machines.
“We have volunteers a lot from our church, but lots of community volunteers. We have high school students doing their volunteer hours that they need to get and others who just volunteer for us every year. Shifts are generally 2 hours, and they just stand there and greet the public and thank them for their donation,” she says.
Allen says the program kicked off last Friday with the Christmas tree lighting in Market Square and runs until Dec. 23.
She says the fundraiser has already had an amazing weekend raising over $4,000 in its first two days.
“We encourage people to give when they can. We’re there, but they don’t have to walk by us and be ashamed if they don’t. Some people say ‘oh I’m sorry, I can’t give’ or ‘I already gave last time’ and they seem embarrassed by not giving. But we just give them a smile and say Merry Christmas because we know people donate when they can,” Allen says.