Salvation Army bell ringers and their kettles will not be seen in front of BC Liquor Stores in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows this holiday season – or in front of any store run by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch across the province.
Stuart Richardson, who is managing the campaign for the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministry, said over the course of the kettle season it will make a difference to the bottom line.
“It’s certainly a blow,” he said, explaining a liquor store is a prime location.
Richardson spent about seven years as a bell ringer outside of the liquor store at the Meadowtown Shopping Centre in Pitt Meadows, and said it was a great place to get donations for the Sally Ann.
“People going into a liquor store in December are generally in a good mood, and generous,” he said. “There was the odd $50 bill, and lots of $20s.”
He said private liquor stores in the two cities have “picked up the slack,” and there will be kettles at the Maple Ridge Liquor Store at 207th Street, at Kanaka Creek Liquor Store, and the Lougheed Liquor Store in Pitt Meadows.
There will be bell ringers near the BC Liquor Store in ValleyFair Mall because they have kettle stations at the Save-On-Foods store and at London Drugs.
“It would have been nice to have a conversation about it,” Richardson said of the change, which was made after the Salvation Army had started its 2022 kettle campaign.
The BC Liquor Distribution Branch issued a statement saying it’s running an in-store fundraising campaign for Food Banks BC throughout the holiday period, until Dec. 31. BCL’s Share-a-Bear program, which runs every holiday season, is also happening. As part of this program, customers are asked if they would like to purchase a bear to take home while its twin is donated to charity in their community.
To date, the LDB has raised more than $2.75 million in support of food banks throughout the province since beginning its partnership with Food Banks BC in April 2020, according to LDB communications.
“We were already fully committed to these important campaigns by the time the Salvation Army applied to use our stores for collections,” said the statement.
“To ensure we don’t overwhelm our customers with donation campaigns when they visit our stores, we are not approving any other fundraising activities at our stores throughout the holiday period, while our Food Banks BC or Share-a-Bear campaigns are running.”
“Unfortunately, this means that we will be unable to facilitate the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign this year.”
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