The Williams Lake Salvation Army raised more than $116,000 through their Christmas Kettle Campaign this holiday season.
The charity’s goal was $90,000. Their final total was $116,275, more than $36,000 over what they had hoped.
The money is raised through the group’s kettles, that are manned throughout the holiday season in stores across town, as well as cash or cheque donations given to the Salvation Army at Christmas time.
“That’s actually phenomenal,” says Salvation Army executive director Dawn Butt.
“Not everybody gets to say that they beat their goal by that much or at all. For us, it just really shows that the community is really behind us and supports us in everything that we are trying to help do in the community.”
The money will go towards supporting the soup kitchen, food bank, programming for clients in the drop in centre, as well as costs should a client need to go into treatment.
“It gives us the opportunity to be able to look at trying different programming so that our clients are not just hanging out.”
Butt says the Salvation Army is working with other agencies to further their commitment in the community, and they are thankful for the financial boost.
“Without the community support we can’t do anything. We wouldn’t be able to do our soup kitchen, or drop in centre. It just wouldn’t be financially feasible. It just shows how much the community appreciates what we do and it just helps us to give back more because it’s not just the financial part. It is the encouragement of having that community support behind you.”
The local Salvation Army has big goals for the future.
In February, the Salvation Army is offering three emergency disaster courses free of charge.
On Feb. 9, Introduction to Emergency Disaster Services will be offered at 6 p.m., On Feb. 10, Disaster Food Services will be offered at 8:30 a.m. and Incident Command will be offered at 12:30 p.m.
Anyone is welcome at all or any of the three courses, says Butt.
The courses will allow people to volunteer during emergency situations, like those faced during this summer’s wildfires, but also smaller emergencies.
Butt says the hope is to acquire an emergency disaster truck, similar to a food truck, that would enable them to better respond to situations in the community.
“Our goal would then be, when places have a larger scale fire, we could have a truck out there supplying needs for not only victims of emergencies, but also responders to the fires.”
Butt says the truck could be brought to house fires, or situations like the Tolko fire.
Currently, she says, if they want to respond they have to do everything from the building, and then need special equipment to bring food or other supplies out to a scene.
“There are limits to what we can do, where as if we have the bigger truck the limits are not quite so limited.”
The three courses will help expand their volunteer list of people who are trained to respond to an emergency.
“Whether it is meet and greet, or helping to cook the food, it helps us in general just to have that wider base. It’s a great tool to meet people in the community and it helps us keep connected.”
The courses will train potential volunteers on how different disasters are handled and will walk people through what they could expect while helping during a disaster.
Butt asks that people register ahead of time by calling 250-392-2423 ext. 216 or by emailing email@example.com by Jan. 31