Stuart Richardson (right) watches a saxophone quartet play at ValleyFair Mall in Maple Ridge as bellringers for the Salvation Army. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Stuart Richardson (right) watches a saxophone quartet play at ValleyFair Mall in Maple Ridge as bellringers for the Salvation Army. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Salvation Army not allowed in front of BC Liquor stores this Christmas

Liquor branch says it already has campaign for food banks, Share-a-Bear

Salvation Army bell ringers and their kettles will not be seen in front of BC Liquor Stores this holiday season, as the crown corporation says its already committed to other causes.

This will make a big difference to the bottom line over the course of the kettle season, said Stuart Richardson, who is managing the campaign for the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministry.

“It’s certainly a blow,” he said, explaining a liquor store is a prime location for donation collection.

Richardson spent about seven years as a bell ringer outside of the liquor store at the Meadowtown Shopping Centre in Pitt Meadows, and said it was a great place to get donations for the Sally Ann.

“People going into a liquor store in December are generally in a good mood, and generous,” he said. “There was the odd $50 bill, and lots of $20s.”

He said private liquor stores have “picked up the slack,” and there will be kettles at some Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows shops.

“It would have been nice to have a conversation about it,” Richardson said of the change, which was made after the Salvation Army had started its 2022 kettle campaign.

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The BC Liquor Distribution Branch issued a statement saying it’s running an in-store fundraising campaign for Food Banks BC throughout the holiday period, until Dec. 31. BCL’s Share-a-Bear program, which runs every holiday season, is also happening. As part of this program, customers are asked if they would like to purchase a bear to take home while its twin is donated to charity in their community.

To date, the LDB has raised more than $2.75 million in support of food banks throughout the province since beginning its partnership with Food Banks BC in April 2020, according to LDB communications.

“We were already fully committed to these important campaigns by the time the Salvation Army applied to use our stores for collections,” the BC Liquor Distribution Branch said.

“To ensure we don’t overwhelm our customers with donation campaigns when they visit our stores, we are not approving any other fundraising activities at our stores throughout the holiday period, while our Food Banks BC or Share-a-Bear campaigns are running.”

“Unfortunately, this means that we will be unable to facilitate the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign this year.”

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Have a story tip? Email: ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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