Starting Friday the Salvation Army will be deploying its Christmas kettles to over 2,000 locations across Canada, including in B.C. where volunteers are needed to jingle the bells.
“We need volunteers to come out and help us out at the stations at the kettles around the province, and we have them located inside grocery stores and liquor stores,” said Salvation Army spokesperson Gavinder Randhawa.
Volunteers typically stand with a kettle for a minimum of two hours to solicit donations both in cash and by debit or credit card, by tapping on an electronic device called tiptap. Randhawa said volunteers are also needed for the Christmas hamper program as well as year-long efforts such as for the charity’s social programs, food banks, shelters and second-hand stores.
This year the Salvation Army is aiming to raise $5 million at the B.C. kettles ($22 million across Canada) to help provide individuals and families with life necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter, said Randhawa, adding about 86 per cent of each dollar goes straight to the recipient.
In the last year, the charity has seen a 30 per cent increase in families with children seeking assistance, said Randhawa. In total, there is a 16 per cent increase in the number of households served from last year, he added.
“The demand has continued to go up for programs and services," he told Glacier Media.
"The rising effects of inflation are affecting everyday customers when they go to the grocery store. That means there's other people there who are struggling more to afford their groceries, get gas for their car or paying rent; those extra costs that are going up. That means we're seeing a lot more people coming through the doors,” said Randhawa.
To volunteer in or near your neighbourhood, visit the Salvation Army's website.
Last year Randhawa said Canadians pledged 508,000 hours to the Salvation Army.