As Diane Gaunt jingles three silver bells outside the Save-On-Foods, a steady stream of shoppers stop to drop in spare change.
“Every little bit helps,” she tells a gentleman, as the coins hit the bottom of her red kettle.
This year is the first year Gaunt is volunteering for the Salvation Army’s annual campaign.
There was someone ready to drop coins into her kettle even before she set up for her first shift outside the Maple Ridge supermarket, joined by her brother Bob Masse, a District of Maple Ridge councillor.
Several other councillors will be helping out with the campaign, which aims to raise $90,000, this year.
The funds from the kettle campaign go towards the Caring Place’s meal program, which serves 600 different people every month and more than 100,000 dinners and lunches annually.
This year however, the campaign is short volunteers.
“We didn’t reach our goal of $90,000 last year so we really hope we do this year,” said Caring Place executive-director Darrell Pilgrim. This is the 123rd year that the Salvation Army has sought donations from the public to help millions of Canadians living in poverty.
The iconic Christmas kettle will be hosted at more than 2,000 storefront, sidewalk and shopping mall locations across the country.
“Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a difference in the lives of those in need,” says Commissioner Brian Peddle, territorial commander for The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. You can also donate online through FilltheKettle.com.
The Red Kettle Campaign needs volunteers for two-hour shifts. To sign up, call Anne at 604-754-6452 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.