Sunday, December 09, 2007

A familiar Christmas sight returns to the streets of Prince Rupert

They are the beacon of hope for the Christmas season, the Salvation Army kettles once again are popping up around the city, perhaps the fragile line between a hopeful Christmas and one steeped in despair.

From providing dinners and hampers, to guidance and a friendly ear, the Salvation Army at Christmas has become as recognizable as Santa Claus, Christmas decorations and Christmas parties.

The only difference is that their work, is sometimes the last bit of hope that can be found for many in our community, one that relies on their work for much more than just the Christmas season.

The Daily News featured those kettles in Friday's paper, the article is worth a read to learn more about what they provide at this time of year. A gentle reminder to dig a little deeper into your pockets when you come up to one of the many volunteers that ring the bell and collect the donations at this time of year.

Salvation Army hopes kettles will flow with generosity
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Friday, December 07, 2007

Pages one and three

The Salvation Army kicked off its annual Christmas campaign last week, not only to distribute food hampers and gifts to those in need this holiday season, but to provide warm meals, shelter and food the whole year through.
The campaign sets out to fill the many needs of those requiring a helping hand in Rupert, beginning with the annual Christmas letter sent out to homes this week.

Captain Gary Sheils said the Salvation Army is forecasting about the same need as last year for Christmas hampers, roughly 675 families (some 1,170 adults and about 800 children.) The hampers include food gift cards, a small gift for adults and presents for the children.

"Our campaign is in December but it goes for much, much more than Christmas," said Sheils.
Last year, the community helped raise more than $120,000 and this helped the Salvation Army serve 35,000 meals at its Café and Bistro, help 2,450 families through the food bank and provide emergency shelter and meals for 220 men and women for 2,350 bed nights.
In addition, the organization also provided free clothing and house wares locally to more than 1,050 individuals and partnered with the Hecate Strait Rotary Club to distribute 335 back-to-school back-packs.

"We had such a great response last year," he said.
The Christmas operations centre has been set up below Northern Savings Credit Union, in the old United Furniture Warehouse space.

At this time of the year, food donations have started to come in, however most of the donated items will end up being used in the 750-plus Christmas hampers that will be required.

While a significant portion of the food for the hampers is donated, financial donations from community members are also used to buy food and food gift cards, so that recipients can select their own ingredients for their special holiday dinner.
People bringing in toys are asked to leave them unwrapped because the Sally Ann will continue
the practice of allowing parents to pick the toy they want for their child.

The Sally Ann's trademark kettles also hit the street Thursday and will be at the mall, liquor store and Safeway. A 'floater' Kettle, which is available to anyone interested in helping out, will also appear at different businesses around town, said Capt. Nancy Sheils.
"Although our future in Rupert looks bright, the needs for food, clothing and shelter remain steady and we need you to be part of it all to aide in meeting the necessaries of so many," she said.
"There are still many spots available to help with a kettle, so please call us and be part of making a difference in someone's life for today and beyond."
The kettles have been a tradition since 1891 when the Salvation Army in San Francisco decided to raise funds to provide a free Christmas dinner for the needy.
Anyone wanting to volunteer for the Christmas campaign can contact the Salvation Army at 624-6180.

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