Kelsey Eliason

Kelsey Eliason

Kettle campaign accepting credit, debit cards this Christmas

No cash in pockets a common reason for not donating, says Salvation Army rep

For the first time ever, the Langley Salvation Army will be accepting donations at their Christmas Kettle Campaign locations by debit, Visa and Mastercard.

Major James Hagglund, executive director of the Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope shelter, hopes this will make it easier for people to make donations. The machines have been used in the United States for a number of years but Major Hagglund says he doesn’t think they have ever been used in British Columbia before.

“We’re doing this because of our experiences where many people say they would love to donate but they don’t have any cash in their pockets,” he said.

“This gives them another option to donate at our stations.”

They will be using their card machines at their Walmart and Costco locations. Envision Financial will also be accepting Interact and Credit Card donations at the Signature Liquor Store, 6435 201 St., from Dec. 19-23.

The Christmas Kettle Campaign is an annual fundraiser done by Salvation Army chapters across the world. The idea began in San Francisco in 1891, when Captain Joseph McFee stood outside the Oakland Ferry Landing with a kettle attached to a tripod to collect donations from passengers for a Christmas dinner for the poor. The first Christmas Kettle Campaign in Canada was held in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1906.

Now Salvation Army Kettle Campaigns around the world raise donations to help 1.7 million people each year.

Last year the Langley division raised roughly $180,000 for local programs and this year they hope to surpass the $200,000 mark.

The donations go directly into creating their Christmas hampers, kids summer camps, school supplies and their family service programs, including serving community meals. At the Langley location alone 45,000 meals are given out annually, feeding 100 to 150 people every day.

“This fundraiser works when people come together and share the joy and the love of the season. It’s amazing how many times people come up to us and say, the Salvation Army helped my grandma, my uncle, my brother,” said Troy Gaglardi, director of operations at the Gateway of Hope. “This is the time to give, but we also want to remind people that we are here all year round.”

The Christmas Kettle Campaign moves into full force this weekend and volunteers are still needed to man the stations.

There are 2,500 shifts that need filling, requiring nearly 300 volunteers. So far only 80 people have signed up.

To volunteer, phone the Gateway of Hope office at 604-514-7375 or email kettles@gatewayofhope.ca. Each volunteer shift it two hours long.

Donations are being collected online at www.fillthekettle.com and at many community locations including Save on Foods, PriceSmart, Walmart, Otter Co-Op, The Murrayville IGA, Canadian Tire and Willowbrook Mall.