Volunteers will be out spreading some Christmas cheer and seeking donations up and down the Coast during the next few weeks in support of the Salvation Army.
The annual kettle campaign was officially launched last Thursday (Nov. 15) in Gibsons by Mayor Wayne Rowe and in Sechelt by Mayor John Henderson.
Donating to the cause has also been enhanced by the new text-to-donate campaign.
"We are spreading the word to text the message HOPE1013 to the number 45678 and a $5 donation is made from your cell phone provider to our local Salvation Army with 100 per cent of funds raised going towards community services here on the Coast," said kettle campaign coordinator Sarah Ward.
"A $10 donation buys a hot meal for a struggling member of our community. We are also delighted to announce www.fillthekettle.com. Visit the website and give to one of our Sunshine Coast kettles, or create your own customized fundraising portal, spreading the word to your friends, family and contacts about the need for donations to fund local services."
The business community has also stepped up in a big way.
Shoppers can give at the register at London Drugs this holiday season by putting a donation on a debit or credit card along with a purchase.
The Town of Gibsons, the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club and the Sunshine Coast realtors, under the direction of Allan Stevenson, are large supporters of the campaign, said Ward.
"These three groups will be manning the kettles on the Coast for an entire day this holiday season, with the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club taking Christmas Eve," she said. "They will be providing volunteers at all six kettle locations throughout the day. We have challenged the District of Sechelt to also come on board and match the Town of Gibsons and we are eagerly a waiting to hear back if they are up for the task."
Ward said this is a great way for businesses on the Sunshine Coast to give charitably this holiday season.
"No monetary donation is required. A business can help us to raise funds by donating their staff and persons connected with the business, as volunteers for a day in one or more kettle locations," she said. "This can be done with as few as 10 staff and is a huge help, as it takes more than 800 volunteers to fill all the kettle shifts."
Scotiabank, Wakefield Homes and Howe Sound Pharmacy are all filling kettles this December with Howe Sound Pharmacy stepping up and matching the donations received by the Gibsons IGA kettle location, she said.
"With a 30 per cent increase in food bank use since the recession hit in 2008, we are seeing the need for our services more than ever," Ward adds. "Here on the Coast we provide a bi-weekly hot lunch program where those who are living in impoverished conditions can come in, warm up, enjoy community and a listening ear and get a hot meal. We saw 4,050 individuals use this service last year and, based on where we are at this year, we are expecting to see an increase by over 300 hot lunches served."
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