The Salvation Army in Grande Prairie is once again looking to raise $500,000 through its kettle campaign. Last year’s came up just short of that goal at $473,000, and Captain Peter Kim says the need in the community continues to grow.
“We’re seeing an influx of people coming into Grande Prairie who are looking for jobs. Maybe they can’t find them yet; they’re looking but they’re really tight on cash, so they might need a little help along the way and that’s where the Salvation Army comes in to help.”
The cash brought in during the five weeks of the Sally Anne’s annual campaign is meant to cover operations for an entire year. This year, Kim says they’re hoping to bring in a food truck canteen to help serve first responders at emergencies and people in need.
“It’s coming in April and it will most likely be used in the Rotary House area to make sure that people are getting food, because some of our people don’t always make it to the soup kitchen, so it would be a good idea to bring the food to them.”
Kim has used a similar canteen during emergencies in Fort McMurray and High River to serve food like soup, burgers, and sandwiches, as well as coffee. The canteen coming to Grande Prairie will be a refurbished one from Fort Mac.
Another change this year is in how toys will be distributed to families receiving hampers. Instead of just allocating them, parents will be able to come into a “toy centre” where they can pick out the right gifts for their children.
“That adds another layer of dignity in the process of when you’re falling on hard times,” Kim explains. “It adds that level of saying, ‘I got you this for Christmas,’ which adds so much more to that sense of giving.”
Nearly 800 hampers have already been prepared for the holiday season and donations are still being accepted. Gift cards for teenagers are especially needed. Volunteers to rings bells at locations are also in dire need. To sign up, call 780-538-2848.
The Salvation Army is piloting the use of debit machines to accept donations at Save On Foods and Superstore this year in the hopes of giving people with no change in their pockets a way to give. Mail-outs are also being delivered.