The Salvation Army in Grande Prairie says it is in desperate need of volunteers for its Christmas kettle campaign this year. Many of the regular volunteers are reportedly not able to help for safety reasons, so the organization is reaching out to bring in a new roster from the community.
Captain Peter Kim says the campaign has changed significantly out of ongoing concerns for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are just about to get started, we have our kettle coordinator who is taking calls for volunteer shifts… we are making changes so that we are keeping all of our volunteers safe by providing PPE and sanitation wipes. We are not handing out calendars or candy canes this year, just to again, keep everyone safe.”
Kim says helping someone in need is always a welcome alternative if Christmas parties and the like have had to be cancelled.
“It’s a great way to help others and feel like [you’re] giving back to the community.”
Kim says thanks in great part to previous food drives and fundraisers in the community, the Salvation Army is able to meet the demand of those in need for the time being. However, he anticipates demand to only go up as the holiday season kicks into gear.
“The need is going to increase and we are anticipating around 1,000 Christmas hampers [requested] this year. In previous years we were around 600 or 800. The need is constantly growing.”
Volunteer shifts have also changed to two-hour lengths between noon and 6 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Kim says there are still more than 900 shifts over the holiday season that need to be filled.
“We’re needing people to call in and to jump on board to help the Salvation Army out,” he says. “There are a lot more people who are concerned about their immune systems and whatnot so we do ask for those who are able and healthy to come in to do a two-hour shift to help us out.”
The Christmas kettle campaign is the major fundraiser of the year for the Salvation Army. The goal is to reach $200,000 through both the kettles and mail-in donations. The organization’s ultimate goal to raise for the year is $500,000 with the addition of phone and online donations.
People can sign up for a volunteering shift by calling 780-538-2848. The campaign runs from November 13th to December 24th.