If you’re hearing less than the usual amount of Christmas bells jingling around town this holiday season, it’s because the Salvation Army is desperately trying to recruit more than just a few good men and women to ring them.
In the midst of its largest annual fundraising drive to support its food hamper and community programs, the army is falling far short of the numbers of volunteers needed to man donation kettles.
Envoy Dawne Anderson said the campaign, which started Nov. 25, is already $11,000 short of where it was this time last year simply because the organization can’t get enough kettles out into the community. The shortfall represents the money needed to assemble 85 family food hampers or enough food, at $129 for a three-person family hamper, to feed about 256 people for a day.
“We’re not really sure why it’s so bad,” Anderson said. “We’re just finding that we’re really struggling to get people on board.”
She said there is no shortage of volunteers to assemble food hampers in Hamperville – where food is warehoused and hampers assembled in the old Madill building on Bowen Road – but it’s proving tough to get people out on the streets to help bring in the cash to buy that food in the first place.
“It’s just people thinking they’re outside and they just find it harder to say yes, I think,” Anderson said.
Last year about 900 volunteers manned kettles. This year about 20 to 30 shifts scheduled each day have no one to fill them.
For Saturday (Dec. 7) Anderson, who runs Nanaimo’s annual kettle campaign, said the drive is short 54 people or more than half the number of bodies needed to man all the kettles scheduled that day.
Every kettle that can’t be put out on sidewalks, in front of stores and shopping centre entrances means potential donations simply walk away.
To volunteer or to find out more about the kettle drive, please call Anderson at 250-740-1004.