The Salvation Army kicked off its annual Christmas kettle campaign Saturday and if food bank statistics are any indication the need for help will be greater this year than last year.
During the last year from Nov. 1, 2014 to Oct. 31 of this year the Salvation Army served 27,000 breakfasts and lunches at the church dining hall and gave out 5,786 food hampers to individuals and families in need, says Captain Ben Lippers.
There were 2,000 more breakfasts and lunches served and 500 more food hampers provided this year than last year, Lippers says.
The numbers of individuals and families needing extra help this Christmas won’t be known until registration for the Christmas cheer program is completed this week.
The Salvation Army is taking registrations for Christmas help at the SA dining hall at 272 Borland Street from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday this week.
There will be a late registration day on Nov. 26 for people who may have been in hospital or unable to register this week, Lippers says.
In keeping with the Salvation Army’s goal of providing people in need with greater dignity he says people in need will receive food vouchers to purchase the food they choose for their Christmas dinners.
Families will receive $25 per person to a maximum of $150 per family; plus an additional $25 for a turkey.
He says single people will receive a $25 food voucher, plus an additional voucher for a ham.
The food vouchers are for purchases at Safeway, Save-On-Foods, the Great Canadian Wholesale Food Club, and Walmart.
The annual Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign helps raise funds to support the Christmas Cheer program.
The kettle campaign was kicked off at Walmart on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 14 with members of the Williams Lake Community Band and Cariboo Men’s Choir joining with Mayor Walt Cobb and Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett and SA church members and others singing Christmas carols.
Donation kettles manned by volunteers will be set up at six locations this year: Walmart, Canadian Tire, Great Canadian Wholesale Food Club, Canadian Tire, the government liquor store, Save-On-Foods, and Safeway.
The Salvation Army is looking for helpers to man the kettles in two hour shifts starting this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26, 27, and 28. The kettles will be set up again at the same locations starting Thursday, Nov. 26 and then every day except Sundays right through until Dec. 24.
People who would like to help with the kettle campaign should call Sandra Dickson at 250-392-1072 or Lippers at 250-302-2971.
Toy donations are also greatly appreciated and can be dropped off at the floating Angel Tree that is being put together by School District 27.
He says individuals and families in need are also invited to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings at the Salvation Army on Christmas Day.
The dinner will start at noon which is the regular time that the church serves lunches on weekdays.
He says City Furniture, which recently moved to the lakecity, is donating all of the food for this Christmas dinner.