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Goal exceeded: Record setting Christmas kettle campaign for Kentville Salvation Army

Capt. Cory Fifield and Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army are extending their gratitude to all those who helped make the 2018 Christmas Kettle Campaign the most successful yet.
Capt. Cory Fifield and Capt. Kelly Fifield of the Kentville Salvation Army are extending their gratitude to all those who helped make the 2018 Christmas Kettle Campaign the most successful yet. - Kirk Starratt

Funds raised will help community members in need year-round

KENTVILLE, NS - The purpose is ensuring that there are resources available to help area children and families in need – at Christmas and year-round.

Capt. Kelly Fifield said the overall goal of the Kentville Salvation Army’s 2018 Christmas Kettle Campaign was set at $175,000. This included targets of $115,000 from kettle donations and $60,000 from walk-in and mail-in donations.

Through the campaign, a total of $181,250.95 was collected, including $117,551.80 from the kettles and $63,699.15 from walk-ins and mail-ins.

Fifield said this gives her a sense of excitement. Instead of having to step back and consider ways to make up for a shortfall, they can realistically look forward and plan for the coming year. They are very grateful that Valley residents have stepped up and continue to generously support the cause.

“We wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of the community and those that surround us,” she said.

The funds collected will go back into the community in the form of emergency assistance, programming and other supports over the coming year. However, Fifield said they recognize that they “still have to run lean” and they’re always looking for new, creative ways to reach out and help.

Fifield said the campaign was very successful in spite of the Kentville Salvation Army having some recent turnover in staffing. A new volunteer kettle campaign co-ordinator, Phil Warren, took over from Les Harris this year. She said Warren did a fantastic job making new contacts, recruiting new volunteers to cover kettle shifts and building the volunteer base.

Struggle to meet toy demand

The Kentville Salvation Army served 529 households at Christmas time. With the help of the 11 congregations that make up the Kentville and New Minas Area Council of Churches, 524 of these families received food hampers.

Along with some smaller items, the Salvation Army aims to provide a primary and secondary gift to each child they support at Christmas. They were able to meet the demand this year, providing gifts to 632 children age 16 and under who are in need, but doing so was far from effortless.

Although a lot of toys were brought in through a last-minute appeal, the overall number of donations brought in through the Angel Tree and other efforts was down. The Salvation Army had to do some shopping to ensure that they had enough toys and had to group some secondary gifts together in lieu of primary gifts.

Fifield said they were able to store away some toys and gifts to get a head start on the next Christmas campaign but only secondary items.

She said one reason why they don’t give in excess is to remind people that Christmas is about family and coming together, not having 100 presents under the tree. They want to work with families they help to show them that Christmas can be attainable if approached in this manner.

A year-long challenge

Fifield said one donor who dropped off multiple items before Christmas told them that they had challenged their family members this past year to purchase one toy or gift every week to donate to the cause, so long as they were able to financially.

Fifield said this is the sort of challenge that is a great help to the Salvation Army, one that other families and organizations could take on at any time of the year.

Capt. Cory Fifield said the Salvation Army extends its thanks to all the donors, the 300-plus volunteers, 14 host locations and the many other businesses and community groups that helped make the kettle campaign and Christmas assistance program so successful.

Although the level of need in the community may seem greater at Christmas, it is a problem many families face year-round. Because of this, the Salvation Army encourages people to continue donating regardless of the date on the calendar.

“That’s important for people to know, that we’re here every day,” he said.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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