Salvation Army kettles are a familiar sight during the Christmas season, but this year, organizers are running into a shortage of volunteers to manage the kettles.
“Our volunteer pool is shrinking,” said campaign organizer Patricia Dobrik. “It’s generally made up of an elderly population and this year it has declined by 50 per cent due to health and age.”
The kettle campaign hits the streets on Nov. 21. Dobrik said they have the first week pretty much taken care of, but as the campaign moves into the last week of November and December, only about 50 per cent of the time slots are filled.
Volunteers stand two-hour watches at the kettles and hand out candy canes or blessing cards.
“It allows that moment to just be special, so it’s not just a drop in the can and walk by, it’s a moment of appreciation each time something happens,” said Dobrik. “We really want to put that time and effort in and with the decline of our volunteers, we are noticing that we need to create that awareness and understanding of how important it is to volunteer in your community.”
December is a big month for the Salvation Army. Not only do they have the kettle campaign, which runs to Dec. 24 and generates funds used locally to help keep the church’s community service programs running, there is also the 10,000 Tonight food drive. That event, conducted in partnership with local schools helps refill food bank shelves after hundreds of hampers are distributed at Christmas.
“We are just continually replenishing our shelves, just through these events, because of how much actually goes out through the month of December,” said Dobrik, who estimates the Salvation Army has 400 people per day going through the food bank.
Dobrik said it is easy to register as a kettle campaign volunteer.
“They can call my trusty cell. And I have my schedule with me, on hand and able to fill them in on a moment’s notice,” said Dobrik, who can be reached at 250-809-5234.