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Kettle turnaround helps Salvation Army reach its target

At the beginning of the 2011 Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign and mail appeal to regular donors, the hope was to raise a total of $650,000.

By Dec. 31, 2011, the charitable foundation had reached its target; however, for most of the month, it did not seem it would turn out that way.

"It was an awfully slow start, but in the last 10 days it really turned around," said Major Ron Cartmell of the Salvation Army.

"I've been through lots of Christmases, but I don't ever remember being this far behind and then recovering. We are very pleased."

Cartmell said that money raised at Christmas goes beyond helping others during the month of December.

"We help people (during) Christmas, but we also depend on money raised at Christmas to help people throughout the entire year."

The Christmas kettles brought in a total of $285,000, which was $30,000 more than what was raised in 2010. The mail appeal generated $365,000 for the Salvation Army, bringing the charity to its target of $650,000.

Eight-seven cents of every dollar goes towards the Salvation Army's network of charitable programs. This exceeds the Canada Revenue Agency's guideline of 65 per cent donation efficiency.

Along with the kettle campaign, the Salvation Army was busy this holiday season giving out Christmas hampers to families in need. Cartmell mentioned that the organization also gave out food hampers—at its Rutland location—throughout the entire month of December.

"We take the trust that the community puts in us very seriously.

"Whether it's food, toys or money that's donated, we want to be very careful how that is spent while helping people."

Along with an increase of kettle donations, an increase of bell ringing volunteers was also on the rise.

"We've put a real emphasis on volunteers because we recognize that as the need becomes greater, we have to sort out ways that we can help people. One way we can do that is by using volunteers to supplement our staff.

"And I think there's something that happens in people when they volunteer as well. We've seen some great transformation stories because volunteering has brought life, meaning and purpose to people."

Cartmell said that corporate partnerships helped this year's cause as well. He noted that Walmart matched $12,000 raised in one day of donations and Scotiabank matched $15,000 of a total $18,000 that came in while its employees were manning three kettles during a day in December.

On a nationwide scale, the campaign raised a record $20 million throughout kettle locations across Canada.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

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