After a solid start, the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign has dropped off a bit in terms of donations, Red Deer officials say.
“After a good start, our kettle totals have dropped off and we are over $10,000 below last year at this point in the campaign,” said Major Larry Bridger, Corps officer of the Salvation Army in Red Deer.
“We can certainly use a boost for the kettles,” he said, adding that kettles were set up at Costco starting this past weekend which should help with the overall totals.
Meanwhile, kettles are set up at Wal-Mart (north and south locations), Co-op (Deer Park), Parkland Mall, Bower Place Shopping Centre, Save-On Foods (East Hill), Superstore, Costco and the Independent Grocery Store in Clearview Ridge.
The Red Deer Christmas Kettle Campaign was launched on Nov. 20th.
Funds raised are used to assist families and individuals at Christmas and throughout the year with a variety of programs and services.
By reaching this year’s $200,000 fundraising goal, the Salvation Army in Red Deer will be able to provide year-round food hampers, Christmas assistance, counseling, senior programs and summer camps in 2015, said Bridger.
Anyone interested in signing up for a shift can call Debbie Lang, the Christmas Kettle coordinator, at 403-346-2251.
Last year, the Kettle Campaign in Red Deer pulled in about $190,000.
As for the campaign’s history, it started back in 1891 when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry.
“He lay awake nights, worrying, thinking, praying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas Day.”
He remembered how at Stage Landing in Liverpool, England, where the boats came in, there was an iron kettle called ‘Simpson’s Pot’ into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor. The next day he placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street.
“Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, ‘Keep the Pot Boiling’.”
McFee’s tradition has spread to Salvation Army posts in Europe, Japan, Korea, Chile, and other parts of the world, providing support for the Army’s social service programs throughout the year.
Meanwhile, also coming up for the Salvation Army is the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6:30 p.m.
The Christmas Day Community Dinner which will take place from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
For more about any of the above programs, or to find out how to help out, call the church office at 403-346-2251.