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

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

Col. Bryn Elliott is the new wing commander of 19 Wing Comox. Photo submitted
New wing commander at 19 Wing Comox

The ceremony was presided over virtually by the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division.

Comox council voted to change the speed limit from 50 km/hr to 30 km/hr along a stretch of Lazo Road. Photo submitted
Speed limit change coming to Lazo Road in Comox

Racing, pedestrian safety issues presented to council

The new childcare centre on Denman Island opened in April. Photo, Comox Valley Schools
New Denman Island childcare facility opens

The facility offers 20 new licensed care spaces

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

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

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read