The Kelowna Salvation Army is adapting as the pandemic continues in order to continue serving the community.
The first change is this year’s Christmas kettle fundraising campaign, where volunteers normally would be stationed outside stores and other locations throughout the city to collect cash donations.
This year, the kettles will only be in 10 locations throughout Kelowna and volunteers will be required to wear personal protective equipment and to wipe down the kettle and equipment before and after every shift.
Another change is how donations can be made.
“We’re just waiting on some technology called TipTap so people will be able to make a contactless donation at the kettle,” Burry said.
“You can use your bank card or your smartphone to donate contactless and we’re hoping we’ll have that by December.”
As for events-based fundraisers like the Scrooge Charity Breakfast and the Tiny Tim Toy Drive, they won’t be happening this year due to restrictions on gatherings and events.
“The Coast Capri is still going to be a collection site for toys, so they’re going to be asking the public to drop off toy donations at the hotel… we’re hoping the community will still continue to donate during that time period,” Burry said.
“We’re still having discussions with Sandalwood, but recognizing that it is a retirement seniors’ resort, the limitations are pretty strong right now so we might not be able to pursue anything there, unfortunately.”
These changes come at a time when the Kelowna Salvation Army is seeing a surge in people using their services, with a 73 per cent increase in March compared to the same time last year. Since then, Burry said they’ve seen a 61 per cent increase in families reaching out for support.
In anticipation of more families needing help, Burry added they opened registration early for their Sharing Christmas program with 240 families already registered and more to come in the next few weeks.
“This year is going to be a challenge because we’re anticipating an increased need, but we’re facing challenges in how we can receive donations and support. So we’re asking that if you’re able to continue to support financially, it will all help,” he said.
“This community has supported us for many many years and we trust that that will continue to happen this year.”
The Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign will launch on Friday, Nov. 13. The toy drive will run from Tuesday, Nov. 17 to Tuesday, Dec. 15.
To donate online and for more information on the Salvation Army’s safe fundraising events, visit their website.