Dawne Anderson, Salvation Army envoy in Nanaimo, says organizers for this Christmas Kettle Campaign are finding ways to cope with COVID-19 conditions during the organization’s biggest annual fundraiser. The charity will accept contributions online and with tap-equipped electronic transaction machines at kettle locations. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Dawne Anderson, Salvation Army envoy in Nanaimo, says organizers for this Christmas Kettle Campaign are finding ways to cope with COVID-19 conditions during the organization’s biggest annual fundraiser. The charity will accept contributions online and with tap-equipped electronic transaction machines at kettle locations. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign carrying on in Nanaimo under COVID-19 conditions

COVID-19 will impact kettle drive operations, but the organization is finding work-arounds

There will again be kettles to be filled with cash donations, but this year’s Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign in Nanaimo will look a bit different from previous years as organizers cope with COVID-19 conditions.

The kettle drive, the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, starts Friday, Nov. 20, and continues until Dec. 24.

Dawne Anderson, Salvation Army envoy, said the organization will carry out the kettle drive as well as it can under pandemic conditions, which even affect the ringing of Christmas bells around the kettles.

“Those locations that can have bells, people will have to bring their own because we can’t be transferring them down the line,” Anderson said. “They won’t be wearing the aprons because we can’t be passing them down the line. We will have wipes at each location, so after people donate, [volunteers] can wipe the bubble if they’ve touched it.”

New for this year at the kettle donation sites will be electronic transaction machines with the tap feature, so instead of handling cash or touching kettles, people can make donations by simply tapping their debit or credit cards. Each tap of a bank card will add a $5 donation.

“It can be tapped up to 10 times so you can give $50, but you just keep tapping, so you don’t have to touch anything and you don’t have to have money in your hand,” Anderson said.

People who are avoiding going out in public can also donate online this year. The organization will issue donation receipts and local donations will continue to support Salvation Army programs and operations in Nanaimo.

Another toll COVID-19 is taking on this year’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is the number of available volunteers. Anderson said many of the kettle volunteers are traditionally seniors. Since they belong to an age group more vulnerable to developing serious symptoms from the virus, those volunteers aren’t signing up in their usual numbers, so volunteers are badly needed.

People interested in volunteering for kettle shifts can download an application form by visiting http://nanaimosa.ca.

The first 150 kettle volunteers to sign up will each receive a Salvation Army face mask.

This year’s kettle drive donation goal for Nanaimo is $280,000. To donate to this year’s Christmas Kettle Drive visit www.fillthekettle.com.

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