(THE NEWS/files)                                Brian Brown, with the Selkirk Centre for Community Engagement, collects donations for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign outside of Walmart downtown Maple Ridge during last year’s campaign.

(THE NEWS/files) Brian Brown, with the Selkirk Centre for Community Engagement, collects donations for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign outside of Walmart downtown Maple Ridge during last year’s campaign.

Volunteers needed for kettle campaign in Maple Ridge

The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries is in deperate need of volunteers

With just over a week left until Christmas, the Salvation Army is desperate to find volunteers for its annual kettle drive.

“We are lower than we were last year this time,” said Darrell Pilgrim, executive director with the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries.

Last year, 55 per cent of the spots were filled at this time. In 2015, 60 per cent of the spots were filled by this time. This year, only 50 per cent of the spots are filled.

“We have some locations that we haven’t opened up at all yet. We’ve never had some people at some locations because we haven’t had enough volunteers,” said Pilgrim.

“We haven’t really been at Safeway very much, we haven’t been at No Frills very much. Those are the two big ones that we’ve rarely been at,” he added.

Pilgrim needs to have 100 more volunteers between now and Christmas to fill all the spots.

All the proceeds from the campaign go to the Salvation Army’s community meal program, which serves 60,000 meals a year to over 2,000 people.

“That puts that program in jeopardy,” said Pilgrim.

The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries serves over 9,000 meals every month and provides 25 emergency shelter beds and 15 beds in the Genesis Transitional Housing program.

Other programs include the Friday Night Street Ministry, Sonia’s Cradle program for babies and toddlers, the back-to-school backpack drive, community advocacy, the Summer Camp program, the School Lunch Bag program in partnership with Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Community Services, the Christmas hampers and the Nurse Practitioner program.

Bell ringers are needed right up to 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

“Doing kettles is a wonderful way to show community spirit and spread Christmas joy,” Pilgrim added.

• Anyone interested in volunteering can call Sharon at 604-463-8296, ext. 104 or email bellringer@saridgemeadows.com.