Sunday, January 13, 2008

When generosity meets need

It’s a rather good thing that people in Prince Rupert are generous, as the need is certainly there. The Salvation Army provided some interesting details on the Christmas campaign this year, an effort that brought in some 125,000 dollars for those in need this year.

And it would appear that the need was there more than ever, the Christmas hamper campaign which saw an increase in distribution from last year from 643 in 2006 to 672 in 2007.

And gifts for children also spiked upwards this year with 923 receiving a toy in 2007 compared to 796 last year.

Adult numbers also increased in the Christmas season of 2007 with about 100 more people being provided with assistance from a year ago.

While the local economy is said to be set to rebound, the numbers show that there is still a lot of people in need in the community, leaving the Salvation Army to apparently be the last line of hope for many of them.

Fortunately, there is still a healthy bit of goodwill left in the population base in town, willing to dig a little deeper to help out those in need.

The Daily News provided full details of the Salvation Army efforts with an article in Friday’s paper.

City once again gets behind campaign
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Friday, January 11, 2008

Pages one and three

Once again this holiday season, the residents of Prince Rupert proved why our community is known as one of the most generous in all of Canada.

Through group and business donations, as well as the contributions of many individuals, the Salvation Army's Christmas Campaign again this year raised approximately $125,000 for those in need throughout the community.

"It was busier this year than we thought it would be, but as always, the town came through," said Salvation Army Captain Gary Sheils. "Every year since Nancy and I have been here, the response from the people of Prince Rupert has been unbelievable. It's phenomenal for a community this size. I have to believe if you look at the amount collected, it's got to be equal to about $10 a head, and that's remarkable."

The total number of Christmas Hampers given out by the Salvation Army this year was 672, up from 643 in 2006. Sheils said there was a dramatic increase in the number of families that they helped this year compared to the holiday season of 2006. The number of children who received toys reached 923 by Christmas compared to a still impressive 796 last year.

The number of adults who were helped by the Salvation Army's Christmas Campaign also increased by more than 100 people for a total of 1,235 this year. Also impressive was the number of people who volunteered at some point during the holiday season, totalling 225 individuals including those who manned Salvation Army kettles around town.

Thinking about Prince Rupert's generosity this year, Sheils was reminded of the loss of the Elizabeth apartments in 2004, and the enormous support for displaced residents.

"Jack Payne gave us the old Universal building to set up as a kind of relief centre for donations of clothing, food and furniture, stuff like that," said Sheils. "Within two days, the place was just jammed with donations, to the point we couldn't take any more. And that's a big place!"

Sheils also remembers that after receiving some $30,000 in donations to be used for relief work in November, he couldn't help but wonder what effect it would have on the upcoming Christmas Campaign.

"Even still, we came out that year with $120,000 or $130,000 for Christmas. This town just comes together when there's need, and just meets it head on," said Sheils. "I remember earlier this year Nancy talking about 'Being a part of it all,' and that's exactly what this community was again this year, a part of it.

"What we do every Christmas and throughout the year is a community event, and without the help and support of the community, we could never do it."

No comments: