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Salvation Army Christmas kettle donations to help Valley families in need year-round

Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army and Christmas kettle campaign co-ordinator Les Harris hope for another record-setting effort this year in support of Valley families in need.
Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army and Christmas kettle campaign co-ordinator Les Harris hope for another record-setting effort this year in support of Valley families in need. - Kirk Starratt

It takes an army of volunteers

KENTVILLE, NS - Whether it’s volunteering time or making donations, it takes Annapolis Valley generosity to make the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign a success.

The Kentville Salvation Army is hoping for another record-setting effort this year. The campaign runs from to Nov. 22 to Dec. 23, with the exception of Sundays.

The goal for this year’s Christmas Kettle campaign is $147,000 – which would be an increase of $5,000 over the record-setting $142,000 raised in 2015 and matched in 2016. Last year, $120,000 was raised through kettles and the remainder came from mail-in and walk-in donations. Organizers hope to bring in $122,000 from the kettles and $25,000 from mail-in and walk-in donations in 2017.

Volunteers needed

Co-ordinator Les Harris, who has led the Christmas kettle effort for 14 years, said people in the Valley are very receptive to the campaign, which shows year after year in the bottom line.

They hope to have an army of volunteers, enough to keep the kettles out in each of the 13 locations for nine hours each day of the campaign, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Shifts per volunteer can be as short as two hours.

Harris said the need in the community is there throughout the year and it’s always increasing, making it even more important to recruit volunteers to help raise money.

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.

“If we could get more groups involved like that, that would certainly be a big asset,” Harris said. “It comes back to, I always say, Valley generosity.”

He’s witnessed people who have been helped out by the Salvation Army in the past pay it forward once they’ve gotten back on their feet. In this sense, the kindness shown often comes full-circle.

Helping year-round

Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army said the kettle campaign is their only annual fundraiser. The money raised sustains them at Christmas time and throughout the year.

For example, funds provide programming, emergency financial assistance and are used to send children and mothers and toddlers to summer camp. Fifield said they look to step in and fill gaps where needed. All the money raised here stays in the community.

“The hope is that we will get enough to sustain us, to be able to look and fill that need,” Fifield said. “We do recognize that it is a very lofty goal but it’s one that we believe that is attainable and that we can reach.”

She said people who may not be able to support the campaign by giving money could still help by donating time to the effort, which is just as important. If they can’t have a kettle out, they’re not receiving funds from those who can give.

Fifield said the level of support shown demonstrates to them that people respect what they do and trust the Salvation Army to use the money donated in the best possible way.

Christmas hamper applications

In partnership with the Kentville and New Minas Council of Churches, applications for Christmas hampers are being taken at the Kentville Salvation Army Community Church at 15 Nichols Ave. from Nov. 13 to 17.

The times for Nov. 15 are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; on Nov. 16, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and on Nov. 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Applications are also being taken at the Royal Canadian Legion at 35 Empire Lane, Windsor, on Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Applicants need to bring I.D. for each person in the household and proof of income for those over age 18.

Christmas toy store

Fifield said a toy store would be set up at the community church in Kentville on Dec. 20 and 21. This provides parents in need with an opportunity to pick out a toy for their child - and it provides dignity. She said it’s about respecting their clients and affording an opportunity for Christmas to be “a little more normal.”

“What parent doesn’t want to go out and pick out just that perfect gift for their child,” Fifield said. “You just can’t wait to see the look on their face when you find that perfect gift.”

Calling all volunteers

If you would like to volunteer your time to the kettle campaign, call 902-690-5703. To volunteer in another capacity, such as with Christmas hamper registration or the toy store, or for more information on hamper registration, call 902-678-4534. You can also visit the Salvation Army, Kentville Community Church Facebook page.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

Did you know?

  • The 13 kettle locations include the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) in Berwick; Foodland, Independent Grocery and the NSLC in Kentville; the Superstore, Sobeys, County Fair Mall, Walmart and Canadian Tire in New Minas; the NSLC in Wolfville and the Superstore, Sobeys and NSLC in Windsor.
  • People can host an online kettle or make an online donation to the Kentville Salvation Army campaign by visiting www.fillthekettle.com.
  • The Kentville Salvation Army is distributing toys and gifts donated through the Christmas Angel Tree at the County Fair Mall. Angel Tree donations can be made from Dec. 8 to 22.

By the numbers

  • 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 and $142,000 in both 2015 and 2016.
  • Volunteers looking after kettle locations donated a total of 3,389 hours in 2016. Windsor Harvest House won the Bell Ringer Award for the third year in a row in 2016 with 340 volunteer hours donated, raising $10,800. Malcolm Phinney was once again the individual with the most volunteer hours, 145.
  • With the support of local churches, the Salvation Army helped more than 530 families with Christmas food hampers in 2016. With support from Christmas Daddies, 603 children were provided with Christmas toys and gifts.

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