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

Arrow Transportation Services Ltd. brought a pickup truck load of non-perishable food donations in colourful Christmas-themed bags to the Quesnel Salvation Army Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. From left, Steve Williams, Adam Ligertwood and Anita Reid from Arrow present the donations, which totalled 880 pounds, to Salvation Army Major Debbie Gatza. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Salvation Army very grateful for community support

Arrow dropped off 880 pounds for the food bank Nov. 30, and a QDA food drive is currently underway

Kyle Aben, the City of Quesnel’s carbon review co-ordinator, worked to create the city’s climate plan and is asking the public for feedback. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)
Quesnel sets out climate plan for city operations, community

Nearly 70 per cent of emissions from city operations are related to transportation

Barkerville Historic Town and Park launched its Greetings from History campaign Dec. 1 and is hoping to raise $30,000 to send 2,000 “Letters for the Lonely.” (James Douglas Photo)
Barkerville launches Greetings from History letter-writing campaign

Historical characters hope to write 2,000 personalized letters to those living in seclusion

Quesnel author L.G.A. McIntyre will be signing copies of her new book, The Prince: Lies of Lesser Gods Book Four, Saturday, Dec. 5 from 1-5 p.m. at Books and Company. (Photo Submitted)
Quesnel author L.G.A. McIntyre signing newest book Dec. 5

The Prince is Book 4 of the five-book Lies of Lesser Gods series

Yunesit'in Chief Lennon Solomon signs a memorandum of understanding with COS Insp. Len Butler. The five-year agreement was signed outside the Tsilhqot'in National Government in downtown Williams Lake on Nov. 30. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Yunesit’in Government, Conservation Officer Service team up to address illegal moose hunting

Protection of moose a key focus of recently signed memorandum of understanding

From left, Kurt Pethick of Integris Financial, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel (BBBSQ) administrative assistant/marketing co-ordinator Joanie Newman and BBBSQ board vice-president Kristina Stewart drew the three winning names in BBBSQ’s WestJet Ticket Raffle Tuesday, Dec. 1. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel picks raffle draw winners

Rose Scott won the first prize in the non-profit’s WestJet Ticket Raffle

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

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Most Read