For some, Christmas is the best time of the year. It’s a time for family homecomings and celebrations. It’s a time for gifts and giving. It’s a time to acknowledge blessings. Unfortunately, for others, Christmas is a time of anxiety and uncertainty. For thousands of Calgarians, the stress of providing for the family and making ends meet can lead to desperation and despair. Fortunately, the Salvation Army and its Christmas Kettle Campaign are there to help.
“The gift of hope is one of the most important things the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign provides,” says Major Margaret McLeod, the Salvation Army’s divisional commander for Alberta and Northern Territories. “We’ll provide toy hampers for more than 7,000 Calgary children this year, but hope and moral support are what many people need the most. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously.”
The goal for this year’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is $1.1 million. The money raised by hundreds of volunteers at more than 70 kettle locations throughout Calgary isn’t just used at Christmas. It funds dozens of family and community programs throughout the year including ESL (English as a second language) classes and programs to help new Canadians build community and healthy relationships. As well as donating at the kettle, people can also support the campaign through online donations.
“We focus on helping build resilient families as they continue to grow,” says Karen Livick, the Salvation Army’s executive director of community services in Calgary. “We rely on the generosity of Calgarians to fund these programs and we’re so grateful for the support.” Kettle volunteers will be at shopping malls, downtown locations, Costco stores and local arenas starting in mid-November throughout December.
Backed by noted Calgary business leader George Brookman as the honorary chair, the Hope in the City luncheon on November 14 at the Hyatt Regency kicks off the annual Kettle Campaign. This year’s guest speaker is country music star Paul Brandt, a Calgary native son and member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Brandt’s #NotInMyCity campaign – which raises awareness about human trafficking – is a good fit for the Salvation Army. For many years, the Salvation Army has offered support such as housing, medical and social services to those exploited and victimized through human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery.
Major McLeod says, “It’s about the community helping the community, and giving people hope for today and hope for the future.”
The Salvation Army continues to need more kettle volunteers. Shifts are three hours long and volunteers can work for a single day or every day throughout the campaign.
To volunteer and for more information about the Salvation Army and the Christmas Kettle Campaign, visit fillthekettle.com.