Neil Rawnsley of Oak Bay Rotary rings the bells Thursday morning on Oak Bay Avenue for donations to the Salvation Army, as part of the Christmas Kettle Campaign. The campaign is well below its goal for 2017 and is looking for more volunteer bell ringers to help give the annual fundraiser a final push. Christine Van Reeuwyk/Black Press

Christmas Kettle Campaign needs strong finish in Victoria

Annual Salvation Army fundraising program less than halfway to 2017 goal in final days

Those familiar red kettles in front of large retail stores and other shopping areas around Greater Victoria are a holiday tradition and a primary source of fundraising revenue for the Salvation Army.

But this year’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is looking for a major boost in the final days before Christmas.

Salvation Army spokesperson Patricia Mamic said Thursday just over $100,000 in donations have been received, leaving it well behind the 2017 goal of $225,000. While the organization remains grateful to the community at large and its corporate partners who help it fund various family outreach and assistance programs, she said, the hope is that the campaign will see a strong finish and be able to meet its objective.

“With these proceeds, the majority are put toward Christmas needs, but we have to spread them throughout the year for things like kids’ summer camps, counselling and other programs,” Mamic said, adding the kettles are the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year. “That’s why this campaign is particularly important.”

As many volunteer-driven organizations are finding these days, securing enough people to ring the bells in front of the kettles is proving tricky.

“We have over 100 empty red kettle shifts to be manned by Christmas Eve,” Mamic said. She encouraged companies to gather staff to cover off a shift, noting it offers a great experience for those who participate.

If finding a kettle on the street in downtown Victoria eludes you – in front of the Bay Centre on Douglas Street is usually a good bet – potential donors have other ways to contribute. Online options include salvationarmy.ca and FilltheKettle.com or people can donate in person at 201-645 Fort St. or by calling 1-800-725-2769 (SAL-ARMY). All local donations stay in the community from which they are received.

In Victoria the Salvation Army operates multiple thrift stores, runs the Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) on Johnston Street, has community churches and offers family and individual programs and education aimed at helping people out of poverty.

To volunteer for the final Christmas Kettle Campaign push, or any of the Salvation Army programs, talk to Sipili Molia at the Stan Hagen Centre for Families, 2695 Quadra St., or call 250-216-2447.

editor@vicnews.com

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