The Salvation Army Christmas kettles might soon be accompanied by electronic payment terminals in Maple Ridge.
The charity has struggled with the declining use of cash. Fewer people have spare change jangling in their pockets, and pass by the kettles on their way out of a grocery or department store without stopping.
“Less and less people do seem to be carrying cash,” said Sharon Scramstad, volunteer coordinator for Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries. “A lot of people walk by and say ‘Sorry, no change.’”
She noted that the Salvation Army has been looking at having electronic payment options. It has already come to some cities in the U.S.
Scramstad said these options are being considered in Canada, but there would be a cost attached.
For now, Scramstad is focused on getting more kettle volunteers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. She still has about 100 two-hour shifts to fill before the campaign ends at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 24.
So far, the campaign is just over halfway to the $90,000 local goal for this year, she said, and the key is getting volunteers on the kettles.
“We have less people volunteering,” she said. “When we have people out on the kettles, we do okay.”
The number of kettle locations was increased this year, to 13 from 10, so finding enough volunteers is more of a challenge.
Scramstad noted Saturday should be a strong day, as Walmart will match donations made at its stores nationwide, up to $100,000 total.
Contributions support The Salvation Army’s Community programs like Adopt-A-Family, community meals, lunches for elementary schools, Back To School supplies, and other community programs.
“The Christmas kettle is a symbol of help and hope for those in need and a direct way for people to make a meaningful impact in their community,” said executive director Mark Stewart.
• To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.