The annual season of giving has started for the Salvation Army with the kick off of its Christmas Kettle Campaign.
The campaign runs from now until Dec. 24 and was started with events in Sechelt and Gibsons on Nov. 15 and 16.
Sechelt Mayor John Henderson and District staff started the campaign by manning the kettle at Trail Bay Mall all day last Friday.
On Saturday, a meet and greet event was held at the Gibsons Salvation Army Thrift Store where Gibsons Mayor Wayne Rowe was on hand to lend the Town's support to the cause.
Tim and Miriam Leslie are the new Salvation Army ministers/leaders on the Sunshine Coast. They arrived at the end of June from Surrey, their last post, and have 18 years of service with the Salvation Army.
Both say they are delighted to be on the Coast and serving such a warm and giving community.
Tim is the pastor of the Salvation Army church and oversees work on the Coast while Miriam is the director of community services.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of people on the Coast who help others every day,” said Miriam. “Whether it is the gift of volunteer hours, finances or products, it is the community that enables us to meet basic needs and sometimes more for people with fewer resources.”
All funds raised through the Kettle Campaign will remain on the Coast helping provide many services such as serving 1,800 adults and children with food hampers, 10,000 visits to the bread and produce week-day giveaway and more than 4,500 hot lunches served to local adults and families.
Salvation Army also partners with seven other agencies on the cold weather shelter. The emergency disaster services van serves the Coast by providing a mobile canteen to first responders and serves our Coast communities in the event of a natural disaster. Clothing and furniture vouchers distributed by the Salvation Army thrift stores totalled more than $3,400 last year. It is hoped that new programs will commence next year through the funds raised during the Christmas campaign.
“I have never seen an area like the Sunshine Coast that gets so excited about this campaign,” Miriam added. “When we arrived in June, people were already talking about Christmas. People who utilize our services always say they could not make it without us. Well, we feel the same way. We could not help people without the support we get from the community. It really does make a difference.”
Already numerous Coast businesses, municipal governments and service organizations have stepped up to volunteer time during the campaign, but more volunteers are needed to run the kettles. To get involved in the campaign, contact Miriam or Caron Young, the campaign assistant, at 604-886-3665 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.