Halifax Salvation Army kicks off kettle campaign

Salvation Army hopes to collect $21 million across Canada with Christmas kettles and bell ringers

Salvation Army staff performed Christmas carols throughout the celebration. (Photo: Claire Ciel Zimmerman)

The Salvation Army Family and Community Services Centre in Halifax celebrated the 107th Christmas Kettle Campaign today with live holiday music and a visit from city councillor Jennifer Watts.

Seeing “the kettle in stores and in public places throughout our city has been a really strong reminder of the spirit of giving,” said Watts, right before she placed a bill in the inaugural kettle on behalf of Mayor Mike Savage.

Each year, the Army sets up more than 2,000 “kettles” and bell-ringers to collect donations from communities across Canada.

Last year, the campaign raised $21 million nationally and $1.6 million in Nova Scotia alone. This year’s national goal is to match that.

The campaign runs until Christmas Eve and raises money that goes directly to local communities to provide basic necessities to those in need.

Councillor Jennifer Watts told the crowd, “Often in the process of giving, we receive so much as well.” (Photo: Claire Ciel Zimmerman)

“We make very good use of that money all year,” said Wilson Perrin, business administrator for Salvation Army.

Magdalena Victor volunteers with Salvation Army as part of a Canada World Youth program. Part of her job has been purchasing presents to give out to families in poverty.

“Poverty here in Halifax is growing,” she said. “It’s very encouraging to see the things we are doing and the toys we are collecting.”

Rhonda Harrington, spokesperson for Salvation Army, said the organization has a national strategy to target young people. In Halifax, she said they are paying attention to universities.

Salvation Army even took suggestions from a group of Dalhousie University business students, who wrote a paper on how the organization could draw in younger generations, Harrington explains.

As a result, she said, “we advertise in all of the university magazines, we give discounts at our thrift stores, we’re introducing the kettles into the university settings.”

Velma Preston, Maritime director of Community Family Services, said she doesn’t often see students seek help from the Family and Community Services Centre. She said students are more likely to go through other groups affiliated with Salvation Army, such as churches.

Even the organization’s Halifax food bank supervisor, Bonnie Hill, said she doesn’t see many students. “I don’t know if students are even aware they can come,” she said.

Salvation Army also gives people an opportunity to set up online “kettles” for their communities, through its campaign website.



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