Christmas kettle campaign needs volunteers

Salvation Army is once again looking for people to ring bells and collect donations this holiday season

This is Sarah Mantha’s (standing) first time volunteering with the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettle campaign. Brenda Pitts (seated)

This is Sarah Mantha’s (standing) first time volunteering with the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettle campaign. Brenda Pitts (seated)

The Christmas season is upon us and that means the Salvation Army is looking for hundreds of volunteers to help with Christmas kettles.

Volunteers took to ringing bells and manning kettles on Thursday in Langley.

But the Salvation Army is hoping to gather more volunteers to man their 26 locations around Langley.

“We need 500 volunteers and we are at about 12 per cent, which is the norm for this time of the year,” said Gateway of Hope’s Troy Gaglardi.

“Our goal is to raise $150,000 which will go directly to services and programs at the Gateway of Hope, which include our extreme weather response shelter and our transitional housing, life skills programs.”

Gaglardi said even if someone can spare two hours, that is fine, too. It can be groups, employees at a company or families.

This year he is hoping to find some groups that are willing to sing Christmas carols.

Certain locations can accommodate dogs. They encourage parents or grandparents to bring children to take in the experience.

They have locations in Aldergrove, Willowbrook, Walnut Grove, Fort Langley and Langley City so people don’t have to travel far from home.

“It feels good to be part of it,” said Gaglardi.

The Salvation Army Christmas kettles is a standing tradition all people look forward to, he said.

“I have had many people tell me it reminds them of the season, hearing those bells and seeing the kettle and the person there spending their time for others reminds all of us to slow down.

“It reminds us of family and friends and the goodness of Christmas,” said Gaglardi.

While statistically in Langley, homeless numbers are strikingly on the rise, Gaglardi sees another angle.

“I get to see both sides of it. We have seen some tremendous stories of moving forward from homelessness and addiciton to a better life,” he said. “We are seeing people getting work, finding housing, being united with family.

“I’m encouraged about that.”

If you would like to volunteer at a kettle you can call 604-514-7375 or email kettles@gatewayofhope.ca.