’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

Police cordoned off the block of Fifth Avenue from Burde Street to Bute Street in front of the Phoenix House sobering centre in the early-morning hours of Sunday, April 4, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Port Alberni stabbing suspect arrested in Nanaimo

Man was also in possession of fentanyl: RCMP

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
Port Alberni postpones organics collection to September 2021

Collection carts will be stored at Port Alberni Port Authority terminal

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour closures coming to Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read