The Salvation Army’s Houston Christmas kettle drive campaign got underway Nov. 28 with a different location than last year.
Instead of at the Buy Low, the kettle is at the front entrance to the Salvation Army’s food bank and thirift store spot at the mall, says Adam Marshall, the Army’s community ministry director for the Bulkley Valley.
Placing it there means it can be more easily staffed by Salvation Army employees although volunteers are always welcome to monitor the kettle for one-hour shifts.
“For volunteers, what we’re saying is that the person doing the donating should place the money in the kettle. The volunteer should step back and then wipe down the kettle when the person has finished and steps back,” said Marshall of the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocol put in place.
The Salvation Army relies on kettle donations each Christmas period to help provide the money needed for Christmas hampers and other of its ongoing relief efforts.
This year that’s expected to be a challenge given the economic impact of the pandemic and the general loss of ways in which non-profit groups have been able to raise money.
“We’re nervous, but also optimistic,” said Marshall.
Last year the Army prepared approximately 160 hampers in Houston and area but expects that to climb substantially this year to well in excess of 200.
“We’re well aware of the increased need this year. As the need grows, so do our costs of meeting that need increase. The Lord willing, we’ll meet that,” said Marshall.
“People are hurting right now and we want to be part of the healing.”
If not at the kettle, the Army in the Bulkley Valley has just set up a website, https://bulkleyvalleysa.ca, through which online donations can be made through Visa, Mastercard, American Express or via PayPal.
“Donations made will stay local,” said Marshall. “Of donations, 86 cents stays local to be able to provide our programs. The other 14 cents covers our own expenses, supplies, etc.”
Those interested in volunteering for kettle duty should call Marshall at 250-847-1059.
The kettle will be in front of the Salvation Army location until Dec. 24.