The Alberni Valley Salvation Army kicked off its Christmas kettle campaign on Saturday morning with a fun event for Port Alberni families.
Saturday, Nov. 23 marked the second annual “Hope in the Valley” breakfast hosted by the Salvation Army. Volunteers at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 293 helped to serve up a warm pancake breakfast while local dancers and musicians provided entertainment.
“It’s really a way to give the community a chance to celebrate kick-off to the Christmas season,” said Captain Michael Ramsay of the Salvation Army Alberni Valley Ministries. “There are a number of people in need in the community. We’re raising awareness and celebrating the opportunity to give hope to people.”
Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions helped to cut the ribbon on Saturday to mark the beginning of the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign.
“It breaks my heart to see, as the weather is getting colder, people in our community sleeping in doorways,” she said on Saturday morning.
The Salvation Army’s goal this year is to raise $100,000 in Port Alberni. Of this fundraising, 100 percent will stay in Port Alberni and will provide hampers for up to 500 families and toys for hundreds of kids in the community at Christmastime.
Kettles can be found at Save-On-Foods, the BC Liquor Store, Quality Foods, Buy-Low Foods, Tyler’s No Frills and Walmart. The kettle at Walmart will also include a debit machine for those who are not carrying cash.
Saturday’s kick-off event featured entertainment by Port Alberni’s highland dancers and music from Garin Burns and Justin MacFadden of the Alberni Teens Can Rock band Sturdy Lemon. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs hockey team also attended the breakfast and will be volunteering at kettles around town in the coming weeks.
“This was a way to involve the young people in our community and highlight the good things they’re doing already,” said Ramsay. “It’s good to see them at a time when they can encourage the whole community to help out.”