Volunteers keep the Salvation Army kettle campaign vital. (THE NEWS files)

Volunteers keep the Salvation Army kettle campaign vital. (THE NEWS files)

Join the kettle campaign for holiday cheer

Volunteering for the Sally Ann fosters Christmas spirit

The sound of sleigh bells outside your favourite grocery store is not from a horse’s harness, but a volunteer from the Sally Ann.

The Salvation Army’s 2017 Christmas Kettle Campaign is well underway in Maple Ridge, with a goal to raise $100,000.

Volunteers are ringing their bells and singing Christmas carols at 11 locations across the city. They are part of a massive nationwide effort that will see more than 2,000 kettles across the country, in the largest and most recognizable charitable event in Canada.

The local campaign started on Nov. 17 and will run until Christmas Eve. Generally the volunteers aren’t out on a Sunday, but given that it is the last day of the campaign this year – and the last shopping day before Santa arrives – the Sally Ann is making an exception.

Darrell Pilgrim the executive director of the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries said volunteering to man a kettle, and collect donations for the charity, is becoming a popular pastime in Maple Ridge, to get people into the holiday spirit.

“It is a great activity to do with friends and family and co-workers,” he said.

For example, the Rotary Club of Haney takes all of the kettles for a day.

Families will sing carols, and bring guitars.

“One family brought a standup piano on a trailer. Others bring pets, dress up and just have fun with it.”

“It’s a great way to spread holiday joy – smile at people and wish them Merry Christmas. And also give back to the community.”

Last year the kettle campaign raised $86,000, and this year the goal has jumped considerably to $100,000 for this year.

It is an tough target, but it was set based on the demands for these resources.

“That’s what we need to continually provide the meal services and family services we provide to the community.”

The kettle shifts are generally two hours in length, and the Salvation Army is recruiting approximately 150 volunteers to fill some 2,000 hours over the holiday season.