The familiar sound of bells return to the streets of Victoria, sounding the need for donations to help feed, clothe and shelter those on Vancouver Island who need support.
The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign launched on Nov. 19 at the Victoria Conference Centre with B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin kicking it off with a bell-ringing.
“It’s our biggest fundraising time of the year,” said Patricia Mamic, public and government affairs director for The Salvation Army B.C. division. “This allows The Salvation Army to assist people who are living in poverty at Christmas time and all throughout the year.”
This year’s goal is to raise $250,000 with the campaign in Victoria. The Kettle Campaign hopes to raise $4 million across the province and $21.6 million across Canada.
Local philanthropists, leaders and celebrities gathered for The Salvation Army’s second annual Hope in the City luncheon, which coincided with the campaign kick-off. The luncheon raised $20,000 with 225 guests in attendance. The funds will stay local to help vulnerable individuals on Vancouver Island.
The first Hero for Hope award was presented to Eric Maze, who has worked hard to overcome a series of life-changing setbacks and also become a transformative influence in the community.
A big crowd here today at the Victoria Conference Centre to recognize the work the Salvation Army does. pic.twitter.com/6924yeKTy1
— Shalu Mehta (@ShaluMehta32) November 19, 2019
“When he came into our doors he just really had nowhere to go and it was the lowest time in his life,” Mamic said. “But we were able to walk beside him, meet him where he was and he walked through our services and he is just doing wonderfully today.”
The Salvation Army works all throughout the year locally, in Canada and across the world to provide people with basics like food, shelter and clothing. The organization also helps individuals who are escaping addiction, violence and moving through poverty.
“We meet people where they are when they come through our doors and whatever their need is we see what we can do to help them,” Mamic said.
The Salvation Army also hands out about 300 food hampers during the Christmas season and has a toy store for parents who may not be able to afford toys, or are forced to make a choice between paying bills or buying toys for their children.
Mamic said the organization is grateful for the compassion and support it receives from the community and noted that the funds raised go right back into the community.
“Just know that with every donation you make you’re helping someone in need,” Mamic said.