The Salvation Army in Prince Albert has a busy Christmas season ahead of them thanks to their Christmas Kettle Campaign, which officially began on Monday.
The campaign helps provide food hampers, gifts, and other things to make Christmas brighter for those who are less fortunate. Major Ed Dean of the Prince Albert Salvation Army said they hope to raise $100,000 this Christmas to help meet needs that have only grown in the past year.
“It is up from last year and the cost of doing things is up as well,” Dean said during the official campaign kickoff on Thursday. “I think we do need to be realistic that it is going to cost us more to do what we presently are doing.”
The Christmas campaign not only helps pay for hampers and gifts, it also covers regular outreach efforts during the rest of the year. That includes Salvation Army meal programs, which have seen demand jump from 60 meals a day to 170.
The request for toys also remains high. Applications closed on Wednesday with nearly 550 requests.
Dean said they moved applications online this year, which will help speed up the process.
“Most of our younger families are on the Internet anyways,” he explained. “It makes a whole lot more sense to do it this way. That’s 550 families that we have not had to personally be in contact with, and two people could not process 550 applications in two weeks.”
Dean said that they purchased the online app and it allowed them to register volunteers for their kettles.
“It’s allowed us to do our Christmas toy applications. We will also do our Christmas Kettle pickup times with that same app and so there has been many benefits to it. We couldn’t hire a staff person to do what that is doing in this period of time that’s economical,” Dean said.
Dean said there are a couple different ways to volunteer and they are always in need.
“There is a website that they can go to which is https://signup.com/go/ChristmasKettlesPA2022.
Or they can contact Major Charlotte (Dean) on her direct line at 306-763-6017 and she will go online with somebody if they are not quite sure and register that way,” Dean said.
He said it helps for those who might not be computer literate.
“There are many who are nervous with new systems and this is new for here, but it is working,” Dean said. “A lot of our service groups have gone online this year to register and pick up shifts already.”
For the Christmas season, their goal is in the neighbourhood of 600 volunteers to get through the entire campaign.
“Volunteers are always welcome,” he said. “We are needing, I think it’s 25 volunteers a day, every day from now until December 24 on Kettles alone. That doesn’t count any of the volunteers that will sort and bag and help us distribute the toys for those families. Over half of our families have already signed up for their pickup time in December on this app that we have.”
Donations can also be mailed to 900 Central Avenue, Prince Albert, S6V 4V3.
“They can bring it here on site or they can go on Salvationarmy.ca and there is a drop down menu designating Prince Albert as the community that they would like to donate to and it comes back to us,” Dean said.