The local Salvation Army is gearing up for Christmastime with a number of ways to make the season brighter for those in need.
The annual Christmas Kettle Campaign kick off runs Thursday at Bower Mall, and organizers have set a goal of $200,000, said Major Larry Bridger of the Salvation Army Church & Community Services here in Red Deer.
Kettles will be set up at Wal-Mart (north and south locations), Canadian Tire (north and south), Co-op (Deer Park), Scott’s Parable Christian Store, Parkland Mall by the Safeways entrance, Bower Place Mall, Save-On Foods (East Hill), Superstore and Costco.
“The money from the Kettle Campaign is used here in Red Deer for our Community and Family Services work. That includes year-round assistance where we help families through food assistance. We’ve got other programs like emergency medication, transportation and a number of other services that the money is used for as well.”
Last year, the Kettle Campaign was down slightly, pulling in about $160,000. The year prior, about $200,000 had been raised, said Bridger. He added that additional volunteer help is essential to the Campaign’s success, and there is still plenty of room for folks to help out in that regard. Volunteers can sign up for two-hour stints at a kettle.
“We’ve had a good start with our coordinator and we are hopeful that we can have a lot more of those volunteer spots filled.” Anyone interested in helping out can call Debbie Lang, Christmas Kettle Coordinator, at 403-346-2251.
Another seasonal event coming up is the Santa Shuffle, which is another fundraiser and is set for Dec. 7. People can register through the Running Room, and they then collect pledges from sponsors, said Bridger.
“It’s a five kilometre run or a one kilometre ‘Elf Walk’,” he said, adding that the event starts at 10 a.m. from the shelter at Rotary Park. Funds also go towards supporting Salvation Army Family Services programs.
The Salvation Army is also taking appointments for the annual Adopt-A-Family program through to Dec. 13.
Folks wanting to help donate are invited to buy groceries and toys for a Christmas hamper.
Those interested in filling a hamper will receive a gift list from the family they are assigned to help, and it’s all done anonymously. Organizers also recommend gift cards for grocery stores as being ideal so that the family being helped can go out and buy their groceries close to Christmas.
Putting together a hamper is a great project not only for individuals, but also for church groups, families and businesses, said Bridger.
“It could be an individual or a family. We also get groups that sponsor as well.”
Last year, about 170 families were assisted through the Adopt-A-Family program, he said. For more information about Adopt-A-Family, call 403-346-2251.
Also, Christmas Dinner will once again be served at the Salvation Army Dec. 25 from noon to 1 p.m. A Christmas Eve candlelight service also runs at 6:30 p.m.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army in London, England, spent years as a Methodist minister traveling all around the country and preaching. He returned to London with his family, and one day in 1865 he found himself in the city’s poverty-stricken East End. He formed ‘The Christian Mission’ which was changed in 1878 to the Salvation Army.
By the time Booth died in 1912 the Army was at work in 58 countries. Today, the Army is working in about 120 countries.
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the death of William Booth and the 130th anniversary of the Army’s ministry in Canada. Their mission is simple but profound – ‘Heart to God, Hand to Man’.
It’s a principal that has been guiding the church’s steps since its beginning in east London. Today, the Army is working in about 120 countries.