The Calgary Salvation Army is already looking for volunteers to staff shopping mall Christmas Kettles.
Despite the economic downturn last year the charity surpassed its $1-million target for the first time ever. Karen Livik, executive director of The Salvation Army Community Services in Calgary says demand has been increasing this year as more and more people find themselves facing financial hardship. “We’re running at maximum for most of our programs, limited only by space and human resources. So, we’re expecting the demand for the families at Christmas is also going to increase.”
Money from the Christmas Kettles stays in Calgary. Last year it financed 7,750 Christmas toy hampers. Livik says money also went to kids camp and other childrens’ programs funding for emergency hampers, through vouchers and various assistance. “We have seen in the last six months just a continual increase in demand for all types of services. And by new people. So people who have suddenly found themselves in need because of an extended job loss or something like that.”
Livik says Calgary corporate community have been strong supporters of the Kettle campaign in years past. “We realize corporations have hit their own hard times and we have seen a drop-off in the financial donations of corporations last year. So, we aren’t sure what that’s going to look like this year, but we’ve also had an increase in corporations wanting to run toy drives for us, so the support overall is very good.”
The Salvation Army has responded to retail changes including more online shopping and people shopping without carrying cash. Livik says kettle donations can also be made online. “We have an iKettle location online where you can donate… It’s been slow to take off but we’re going to try more promoting of that this year.”
The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign runs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 24. Volunteers can register to staff a three-hour shift at any of the 60 kettle locations by visiting www.TSACalgaryKettles.com or calling 403-410-1113.