The Christmas season may look a little different this year thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but one thing has not changed. The Alberni Valley Salvation Army is still going ahead with its Christmas kettle campaign in order to raise funds for those in need in Port Alberni.
This year, the agency is hoping to raise $100,000.
“That will go a long way to helping us keep people fed,” explained Captain Michael Ramsay of the Salvation Army. “As well as providing the things we always provide at Christmas time.”
This includes toys for local children and Christmas hampers for families in need.
Since the pandemic was declared back in March, the Salvation Army has teamed up with other local service providers to form the COVID-19 Response Team and deliver daily meals, as well as hygiene products, to the community’s homeless and low income residents. According to Ramsay, the team is feeding between 400 and 500 people each day.
“The need is heightened this year,” said Ramsay. “Especially at Christmas time, when people are most vulnerable—not just financially, but socially and emotionally.”
The Salvation Army has made a few adjustments to the kettle campaign in response to COVID-19. Volunteers will wear masks and carry hand sanitizer. The kettle workers will accept cash, but will also have a machine option to help keep donations “hands free.”
This year, the Salvation Army has also launched an online kettle campaign. People can visit www.fillthekettle.com and look up “Alberni Valley Christmas” to make an online donation or host an online kettle.
“Every penny raised goes directly into service provisions here in the Alberni Valley,” said Ramsay.
Last year, said Ramsay, the Salvation Army “came close” to meeting its $100,000 goal during the kettle campaign.
“We’re hoping we can meet it this year, just because the need is so much greater,” he said.
If you would like to sign up for a kettle shift, you can call 250-723-6913 or text 250-720-5822. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fillthekettle.com.
The Salvation Army is also hosting its annual “Angel Tree” program, where people can deliver holiday gifts to children in need in the Alberni Valley. The tree is currently located at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.