The Salvation Army’s cheerful red kettles and jingle bells signal the start of the Christmas season almost as much as the twinkling lights and carols.
In Langley, where more than 20 kettles welcome donations through Dec. 23, the campaign is the Gateway of Hope’s largest fundraiser of the year, with a goal of $150,000 this year.
“Langley is a very generous community and all the donations that we receive during our Christmas kettle campaign in Langley go towards funding our family services department at the Gateway of Hope,” says Executive Director Emmy Skates.
“Since 2010, we have seen an increase in demand each year in the services that we provide. In 2016, we served 48,434 community meals at Gateway of Hope; this is a substantial increase to the 16,255 community meals we served in 2010.”
Key to the Gateway of Hope’s services is addressing an established need not already served by other community organizations, notes fundraising coordinator Krista Hannan, pointing to a Christmas food hamper program that focuses on seniors, singles and couples without children.
“At Gateway of Hope we really strive to fill those local needs, without duplicating what’s already out there.”
While the campaign allows the Gateway of Hope to provide groceries for many people through the Christmas season, your donations make a difference long past the holidays. Here’s how:
- Supporting seniors: As pensions fail to keep up with the cost of Lower Mainland living, more seniors are turning to community organizations for help, including the Gateway of Hope. Gateway’s friendly, inviting meal centre not only serves meals to shelter guests but also the public, every day, year-round in a comforting and friendly atmosphere.
- Supporting children: Kettle donations also help send children in need from Langley and Aldergrove to the Salvation Army’s Camp Sunrise in Gibsons, B.C. for a fun-filled week of outdoor activities and exploration – an opportunity they wouldn’t have without your help.
- Supporting student learning: Back to school should be an exciting time, but it can also be stressful for families challenged to pay for the lengthy supply list. Your donations help the Gateway of Hope provide backpacks filled with school supplies to those local students.
- Supporting connections: Understanding nutrition and personal connections are vital to continued good health and wellness, Gateway of Hope hosts regular community dinners to connect people with others in their community.
- Supporting nutrition: Recognizing nutrition is a key element of health and wellness, Skillet 101 is a free, six-week community kitchen program open to anyone in the community.
Still time to volunteer
With about 100 volunteer shifts each day of the campaign continuing through Dec. 23, there’s still time to volunteer. Learn more about volunteering and Gateway of Hope’s many initiatives at gatewayofhope.ca or on Facebook.