KENTVILLE, NS - If you can’t afford to give financially but want to help, maybe you can afford to give of your time, which is just as important.
With the 2018 Kentville Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign getting underway, organizers want people to know that there are many ways to give. This year’s campaign runs on Nov. 16 and 17 and from Nov. 23 to Dec. 24 with the exception of Sundays. It takes an army of volunteers to make it a success.
Last year’s campaign was another record-setter, with a total of $168,826 being raised. $110,211 came through the 14 kettle locations and the remainder came through walk-in and mail-in donations.
Capt. Kelly Fifield said last year’s campaign started off slowly but gained momentum over the season and organizers were able to exceed their overall goal, which was set at $147,000. This year’s overall goal has been set at $175,000, including a $115,000 goal for the 14 kettle locations, almost $5,000 more than in 2017.
“We feel that our community can meet that goal, we’ve just seen the generosity of the people in this area come out, especially at Christmas time, and support us and help us to get there every year,” Fifield said.
She points out that all the money raised between Windsor and Berwick is used to provide programming and services for people in need in the Valley. We have friends, neighbours and family members who are struggling. Fifield said they raise the goal a little bit each year to reflect the ever-increasing level of need. She said every cent put into the kettles makes a positive difference and impact on someone’s life.
Toy donations important
Last year, in partnership with the Kentville and New Minas Council of Churches, 551 families were provided with Christmas food hampers and, with support from Christmas Daddies, 621 children received toy hampers.
“We guarantee families as they register with us that we will provide Christmas gifts for kids 16 and under,” Fifield said. “It is a big task, 621 kids is a lot and if you’ve been in the stores lately, you recognize that toys aren’t cheap.”
This makes toy donations very important. The Salvation Army provides parents the dignity of picking out toys for their children, as a toy store is set up at the Kentville church at 15 Nichols Ave. The dates this year are Dec. 19 and 20, which are also the hamper distribution dates. If you would like to donate toys but need a better idea of what to give, call 902-678-2039 Ext. 1.
Volunteers Mike and Lynda Carter are once again collecting toy donations through the Christmas Angel Tree at the County Fair Mall in New Minas, this year from Dec. 7 to 22. Fifield said The Inquisitive Toy Company in Wolfville will also be hosting an angel tree this year. Toy boxes will be placed in other locations to collect donations and toys can be dropped off at the church.
This year, the Kentville Salvation Army is opting out of the national mailer program in favour of a local program. Homes and businesses within the catchment area will be receiving notification in the mail. Fifield said they wanted to make this aspect of the campaign more personal and they want to make sure people know how the funds are being used locally.
While the Salvation Army provides for families in need at Christmas, the money raised is used throughout the year to provide emergency financial assistance, send kids to summer camp and even provide a camp for young moms and toddlers.
Fifield said they want to make it as easy as possible for people to donate. This year, people have the option of donating by credit card over the phone or at the church. People can host an online kettle or make an online donation at www.fillthekettle.com and selecting “Kentville.”
Fifield said that long-time campaign co-ordinator Les Harris will be missed, as he has decided to retire after 14 years spearheading the efforts. He put an incredible amount of time and effort into the campaign and contributed significantly to its growth over that time. His wife, Hazel, also made a significant contribution, counting the kettle donations.
New co-ordinator on board
Phil Warren of Kentville, the new campaign co-ordinator, said it’s extremely important to its success that people volunteer their time.
“I really hope that volunteers will come out so that we’re not only able to meet last year’s expectations but exceed,” Warren said.
The more volunteers they can rally, the better. They have 14 kettle sites, each one needing volunteers to look after it from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the campaign. Since the funds raised help people from Berwick to Windsor, that is the area they cover with the kettles. If the kettles aren’t out, they aren’t collecting donations.
They have several groups that regularly get involved, including St. George’s Lodge #20 in Wolfville; the Kentville, New Minas Sunrise, Wolfville and Mud Creek Rotary Clubs, Windsor Harvest House, Northeast Kings Education Centre students and others.
Warren said he realizes that he has “some big shoes to fill”, as the former co-ordinator knew the campaign inside and out.
“He has a lot of relationships with people and the volunteers, and the volunteers speak very highly of Les, so he did an excellent job,” Warren said.
Warren, who sold his business and retired a number of years ago, said he received notice through the Rotary Club that they were looking for someone interested in working with the Salvation Army. Warren recognizes that the organization does excellent work supporting people in need in our communities and he enjoys working with and co-ordinating volunteers, so he stepped up to volunteer as the new co-ordinator.
If you would like to donate your time to the cause, call Warren at 902-300-8416 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Kettle shifts can be as short as two hours.
By the numbers
- In 2017, the campaign had 295 volunteers, including kettle volunteers, counters and drivers.
- A total of 3,393 volunteer hours were contributed to the campaign.
- The winner of the 2017 Bell Ringer Award for the fourth year in a row was Windsor Harvest House with 305 hours and $11,280 raised.
- The individual Bell Ringer Award once again went to Malcolm Phinney with a total of 153 hours.
- There are 14 kettle locations this year, including Canadian Tire, the County Fair Mall, Sobeys, Atlantic Superstore, Walmart and Giant Tiger in New Minas; Foodland, Independent Grocer and the NSLC in Kentville; the NSLC, Sobeys and the Atlantic Superstore in Windsor; the NSLC in Wolfville and the NSLC in Berwick.
- The Kentville Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign raised $52,000 in 2007; $65,000 in 2008, $86,000 in 2009, $96,000 in 2010, $116,000 in 2011, $117,605 in 2012, $116,928 in 2013, just over $127,000 in 2014, $142,000 in both 2015 and 2016 and $168,826 in 2017.