Members of the Masons Ron Brace and Ron Champken were on kettle duty for the Salvation Army on the first day of the Christmas campaign at the Canadian Tire store Thursday. Mark Brett/Western News

Members of the Masons Ron Brace and Ron Champken were on kettle duty for the Salvation Army on the first day of the Christmas campaign at the Canadian Tire store Thursday. Mark Brett/Western News

The bells are ringing in Penticton

Christmas Kettle campaign aiming to beat $100,000 goal

The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettle campaign is kicked off twice last week.

One was Canadian Tire Friday, because of their huge kickoff for Black Friday,” said Christmas Kettle co-ordinator Graham Perrie. Then, on Saturday, they made their appearance at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre, along with Santa’s arrival.

“We’re looking for two big launches this week,” said Perrie, adding that the campaign is seeing a lot of support from service groups this year, with the Masons, the Lion’s Club and Bethel Church joining in for the launch events.

This year’s Christmas Kettle Campaign has a goal of raising $100,000. Perrie said he’s hoping they can beat that. Between fires and floods this spring and summer, Perrie hopes that people will be in a giving mood, having seen the hardships those events caused.

“When people see there is more need, then tend to be more generous,” said Perrie, noting that it has been a tough year for many. “We also anticipate that our needs this year for Christmas hampers, toys, is going to be that much bigger.”

Related: Christmas comes early for those who need it most

With 1,200 shifts to fill over the next month for the kettles, plus the Toys for Tots to Teens coming up on Dec. 1, Perrie is a busy man.

“My main role is the kettle co-ordinator, but how can you not get involved in all the other good causes,” said Perrie. “It is rewarding, there is no doubt about it. If I ever wonder why I am doing this, I just go down to the food bank or social services and hang around for a while. It gets you motivated pretty quick.

“Some of our volunteers are people that have had need at one time and now they are in a situation where they can either donate money or time back to help the next people in line.”

The kettle campaign is mostly concentrated in Penticton, though Perrie said he hopes to have some in neighbouring communities, like Summerland, for peak events and times.

But it all comes down to volunteer manpower.

“We haven’t been in Summerland for two years, because we couldn’t get the people. I would love to have a constant kettle in Summerland, it is just really hard to get the coverage,” said Perrie. “We hope to be out there, it just won’t be on a regular basis. It all comes down to what kind of volunteer manpower I can recruit.”

If you have time to volunteer for a Christmas Kettle shift, Perrie would love to hear from you. Prospective volunteers can contact the Salvation Army by calling 250-492-6494.