They’re as iconic as Santa and stars atop fir trees and now the Christmastime staples are back.
Starting Dec. 1, the Salvation Army’s kettles will be seen at Overwaitea and the Port Hardy liquor store where they will collect coins and cash to help the North Island’s less fortunate.
The Salvation Army is also sending out Christmas Campaign Appeals in order to raise money by direct donations.
“I think 300 or so have been sent out already,” said Community Ministries Coordinator Tania Junglas.
“We are hoping to raise $13,000 to help support our programs at the Lighthouse Resource Centre,” said Sean Junglas Community Ministries Director for Lighthouse Resource Centre, 8635 Granville St., in Port Hardy.
The local Sally Ann is in partnership with Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Ministry of Social Development and BC Housing, all of which contribute to the Lighthouse budget.
“The salvation army makes up 30 per cent of the budget,” said Junglas, who noted the Christmas Kettle Campaign is vital to funding various projects through the year.
“Money stays in the community and helps fund our lunch program and emergency assistance,” said Junglas.
The Lighthouse Resource Centre opened in October 2007 and serves the Mt. Waddington Region with an “everyone welcome” philosophy, he said.
“Our primary focus is on support services and programs for clients encountering a variety of barriers including low income, unemployment, addictions, social isolation, homelessness and mental illness.”
And the need is growing.
This past year alone the Lighthouse Centre helped 11,207 clients with things like access to resources and referrals and served 11,056 hot meals, which meant a 35 per cent increase from 2010.
It also helped 984 people with clothing assistance — a 30 per cent increase from 2010 — and sheltered 874 folks over 151nights during the tough winter months.
The Salvation Army is hoping to again hold a Christmas dinner for those in need at the Port Hardy civic centre, but that has not yet been confirmed.
The Salvation Army does much, much more, but much of what they do wouldn’t be possible without help. If you’re interested in volunteering to be a Christmas Kettle attendant, contact Tania at 250-949-8125.