THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Iconic Salvation Army fundraiser faces increased demand, challenges due to COVID-19

Charity says it has not seen an increase in demand like this for decades

The Salvation Army is launching its annual Christmas kettle drive facing what it says is a level of need not seen since the Second World War — even as COVID-19 makes fundraising more difficult.

The iconic red kettles will start appearing in malls, grocery stores and other establishments across the country on Monday as the Sally Ann seeks to raise $23 million this year to help Canadians in need.

Funds raised through the campaign remain in the community where they are donated, with the money going to pay for Christmas hampers, meals and clothing along with drug-recovery programs and training.

Salvation Army spokesman John Murray says that target is 10 per cent more than in previous years — even though the charity has received five times the normal number of requests for help since the pandemic began.

“We’ve not seen the increase in in demand for assistance like this since post-World War Two,” Murray said. “That’s incredible when we consider that.”

Even meeting that modestly increased fundraising target could be a challenge, however, as COVID-19 threatens to wreak havoc on the Salvation Army’s normal way of doing business.

That starts with great uncertainty around exactly how many kettles will actually be out in the community as pandemic-related lockdowns in different parts of the country keep malls and other businesses closed.

“I think of Manitoba where we’re not going to be able to have Christmas kettles out, at least until the middle of December,” he said. “There are parts and pockets of Quebec that’s the same way.”

The Sally Ann is also facing a potential shortage of volunteers as many of those who have typically helped the fundraising drive are older Canadians who are more at risk from COVID-19.

While the charity is providing volunteers with personal protective equipment as well as training to ensure they stay safe, Murray says the actual recruitment of Canadians to help is a challenge.

“The actual recruitment, we’re certainly concerned about that,” he said.

“Annually, we would put out about 2,000 kettle locations across Canada during the holiday season. It remains to be seen whether we’re going to be able to have all those kettle locations filled this year.”

The Salvation Army isn’t the only charity facing challenges; many have previously raised concerns about a lack of volunteers and dried up fundraising due to COVID-19 even as demand for help skyrockets.

The Sally Ann says there has been a 19-per-cent increase in the number of people visiting the charity this year because of delayed wages, while the number saying they are homeless has doubled since 2019.

Like many other organizations, it is hoping that Canadians unable to donate in person will do so online at FilltheKettle.com or by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Charity and DonationsCoronavirusSalvation Army

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Phyllis Stenson, a mainstay of the local arts scene and the Harrison Festival of the Arts, passed away earlier this month. Stenson was crucial in setting up the foundation for relationships, funding and more that continue even now to echo well past her retirement in 2013. (Contributed Photo/Harrison Festival Society)
Harrison Festival, Fraser Valley arts icon Phyllis Stenson mourned

Stenson passed away in late November, leaving lasting legacy of passion for the arts behind

Construction is expected to start in March of 2021 on 23 new rental homes funded by the provincial government’s Community Housing Fund. (Metro Creative photo)
Province announces rental home project in Chilliwack paid for by Community Housing Fund

Twenty three homes for Indigenous families are planned in partnership with Tzeachten First Nation

Canadian Red Cross staff engaged in a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and social distancing training exercise. (Luc Alary / Canadian Red Cross)
Red Cross canvassers following PHO guidelines while going door-to-door

Canvassers using safety protocols including masks and distancing to continue organization’s efforts

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl, pictured here in 2017, has harsh words about the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack MP Mark Strahl says Liberal government is leaving millions of Canadians behind

Strahl delivered a blistering critique of the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — human the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read