’Mrs. Christmas,’ aka Salvation Army kettle volunteer Gillian Shearwater, searches for a Welsh carol to play for Millie Cretney and her grandmother, visiting from North Wales, in front of Quality Foods on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)

’Mrs. Christmas,’ aka Salvation Army kettle volunteer Gillian Shearwater, searches for a Welsh carol to play for Millie Cretney and her grandmother, visiting from North Wales, in front of Quality Foods on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News)

WATCH: Christmas kettle campaign volunteer gets musical in Port Alberni

Salvation Army hopes to raise $100K to help families hard hit by forestry strike

The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas kettle campaign is in high gear in Port Alberni and is still in need of volunteers to take kettle shifts.

The kettle campaign is one of the Salvation Army’s largest fundraisers of the year in Canada, and Port Alberni’s campaign is no different.

“We hope to raise $100,000 to support families in need in the Alberni Valley this Christmas season,” Salvation Army Captain Michael Ramsay said. Kettles are at Walmart, Buy-Low Foods, Tyler’s No Frills, Save-On-Foods, Quality Foods and the BC Liquor Store.

This Saturday, Dec. 21, Walmart Canada will match donations made by individuals to Christmas kettles located in front of its stores across Canada, up to a maximum of $100,000. Walmart Canada and its customers have donated more than $29 million to the Salvation Army through the kettle campaign since 2007, said Lt.-Col. John Murray, territorial secretary for communications.

Another feature of the campaign this year is “Angel trees” that are up at Alberni Chrysler, Alberni Toyota, Home Hardware and Beaver Creek Home Center. People can take a tag from the tree that contains a child’s wish for a gift this Christmas and fulfill that wish, then bring the gift back to be given to the child.

The Salvation Army has also filled hundreds Christmas food hampers for people this year, Ramsay said.

“All monies raised in the Alberni Valley stays in the Alberni Valley,” he added. In addition to the Christmas gift and food programs, the Salvation Army looks after the Community Food Bank, providing hampers and meals for people in crisis throughout the year. The building on Argyle Street at Fourth Avenue offers people a warm, safe place to drop in on a cold day, and offers support for families in challenging times as well as clothing for people who need warm clothing this time of year and any type of clothing year-round.

There are programs for men, women and children available through the Salvation Army as well as advocacy and personal support for people in need and summer camps for kids. Less known are the emergency disaster relief programs.

READ: Port Alberni’s Salvation Army kicks off Christmas season

Gillian Shearwater has been volunteering with the annual Christmas kettle campaign for 10 years now. She dresses in a festive red coat and hat, brings her tenor and alto recorders with her and plays carols to entertain shoppers at her kettle locations.

Even though she is often situated in front of a store, Shearwater said volunteering helps separate her from the commercial frenzy that Christmas can often be. She loves interacting with people, and encourages fellow musicians to bring their instruments for their kettle shifts.

“It’s incredible,” she said. “I see people I only see once a year doing kettles.”

One day recently a young girl approached her, wanting to say hello to “Mrs. Christmas.” Millie Cretney was visiting Port Alberni with family from North Wales. Shearwater searched through her music book and found a Welsh carol that she played just for Millie. Everyone left afterward with big smiles on their faces.

If you’re interested in taking a kettle shift, call or text coordinator Alvina at 250-918-8704.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Homelessness’ means many things to people with no permanent place to sleep. For some, the challenge to find safe shelter is greater than for others. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni mother battles to find housing for her son

Mary Elles fears her son will die on the street before he will find safe housing

Andy Richards of Dog Mountain Brewing demonstrates their new canning machine. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
BIZ BEAT: Local businesses need support during holidays

Bosley’s helping pets out during holiday season

Captain Michael Ramsay of the Salvation Army is ready for the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign in the Alberni Valley. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
COVID-19 can’t stop Salvation Army’s kettle campaign

Innovation drives annual fundraising campaign for 2020

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Alberni man gets four years for multiple sex assault charges

Colin Robert Hall was found guilty in the Port Alberni Law Courts

John Edmondson, left, and Colin Minions from the Bread of Life are two of the team working to reopen the Third Avenue facility as a warming centre. Nov. 20, 2020 (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s Bread of Life to open as warming centre

Centre will offer a place for those with no other place to go to get out of cold weather

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Most Read