Salvation Army kicks off Christmas fundraising efforts
by Phil Ambroziak
“Need knows no season.”
That’s what Maj. Peter Eason of the Meadow Lake Salvation Army says each and every year when it comes time to fundraise during the weeks leading up to Christmas. The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettle Campaign officially kicks off this Friday (Nov. 29) at Madill’s Drugs on Centre Street and at Extra Foods in the Meadow Lake Mall while the ninth annual Battle of the Badges hockey game fundraiser was held this past weekend.
The money raised from these events and through other donations will be used to fund the Salvation Army’s Empty Stocking Fund. Since Nov. 26, families and individuals less fortunate have been welcome to apply to the Salvation Army for a hamper filled with food, toys and other goodies to help them have a happy holiday. But, Eason also said money generated during the Christmas season is also essential to help the organization fill a variety of needs throughout the entire year.
“This is our biggest time of year for raising funds and, although we do receive some donations throughout the year, we rely heavily on whatever leftovers remain after Christmas to help us with the rest of the year,” he said.
Eason went on to stress, however, the Salvation Army’s Christmas initiatives are entirely covered by the money collected via the Kettle Campaign and other related fundraisers.
“They’re all part of the same puzzle,” he said. “We just aim to collect above and beyond what is needed to help us get through the months that lie ahead.”
A large portion of donations received this year will once again go toward the 100-plus Christmas hampers that are distributed to families in Meadow Lake and the surrounding area each year.
“The Salvation Army has been involved with providing support and a hand-up at Christmastime almost as long as there’s even been a Salvation Army,” Eason noted. “It’s our way of bringing some blessing into the lives of families struggling to make ends meet all year – a struggle that becomes all the more glaring at Christmastime and all the more painful for people who don’t have the resources to supply Christmas dinner or a few extra presents under the tree for their children.”
Filled with toys, non-perishable food items and even a turkey, the hampers are described as very generous because, as Eason puts it, the people of Meadow Lake and area are as equally generous.
“That’s not a pat on the back for us,” he added. “We are only able to give as much as we receive. This is a wonderful community and a wonderful area. We feel we’re very blessed and want to be able to share that blessing.”
Meanwhile, Meadow Lake fire chief Neil Marsh said the local fire department is more than happy to support the Salvation Army’s efforts through its involvement with Battle of the Badges each year.
“It’s a worthy cause that assists a lot of people in need,” Marsh said. “The fire department and the RCMP are always glad to give back to the community, especially at Christmastime.”
To receive a hamper, applicants can contact the Salvation Army at 306-240-5706 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday until the end of next week. A representative from the Salvation Army will review the applications and call to book an appointment to discuss each family’s or applicant’s level of need.