The Salvation Army is inviting people to release their 'inner volunteer'Â in time forÂ the annual Kettle Drive for the Food Bank. Volunteers are needed for two-hour shifts at Salvation Army kettles in locations throughout Williams Lake, according to Tom Bingham, a volunteer helping out with the program this season.
(John Sykes, volunteer and local musician, entertained shoppers at the Wholesale Club last Christmas by playing his tuba during his kettle shift.)
TomÂ said that itâs a challenge to pull together the volunteers needed to run the kettles. "If we have five kettles a day with three two-hour shifts, it takes 15 volunteers a day and sometimes up to 25 a day," he stated. "We have kettles at Save on Foods, Safeway, the Wholesale Club, the Liquor Store and Walmart.
He said that there are volunteers who come back year after year, finding âkettle mindingâ satisfying for a variety of reasons. âVolunteers say they like Â Â helping to provide something as basic and important as food for people in their community,â he said. âThey also enjoy it because itâs fun and sociable: you see a lot of people during a kettle shift.â
There were 150 Christmas meals served in Williams Lake through the Salvation Army last year. Family Services had operating expenses of $300,000âfunds raised through cash donations and Thrift Store donations;
In the past year the Salvation Army Thrift Store has sold $305,000 worth of merchandise, provided seven jobs and kept 50 tons of clothing and shoes out of the City dump by sending recycling to Vancouver. Food hampers have helped 1,910 individuals and 465 new families were processed this past year, and there have been 25,899 meals served.
âWilliams Lake is such a giving community,â Tom continued. âThatâs another reason why people enjoy minding the kettles. We do our best to work around your schedule to make it as convenient as possible to volunteer.â
He said that if he had one thing to pass on to people walking past a volunteer at a Salvation Army kettle, it would be that they donât need to feel that they have to put money in every time. âJust smile and say âMerry Christmas,â he said.
âAll the money raised here, stays here for the food bank,â he concluded. âThis helps make Christmas better and brighter for everyone.â
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