by Lucie Roy
The Salvation Army Kettle was at the Scotiabank in Morinville on December 6.
Scotiabank is matching funds up to $5000 per kettle in all Scotiabank locations in St Alberta, Morinville, Stony Plain, and Spruce Grove.
In Morinville, Rheyna Ash, Megan Fraser Jo Otway, and Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Coordinator Diane Ellis gathered to count the money – $856.72 and this will be matched by the Scotiabank.
Terry Cook, of The Salvation Army in St. Albert said Scotiabank has been doing their “Matching Kettle Funds” program in St Albert, Morinville, Stony Plain, and Spruce Grove for more than 5 years but is unsure when they actually started.
What happens at each of those local Scotiabank branches is, on the first Friday in December, the Scotiabank staff man the kettles collecting donations for The Salvation Army, then at the end of the day they match those funds up to $5000 for each of those locations.
History of the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle
Terry Cook provided a history of the Christmas Kettle when the tradition began in 1891 on the Oakland Ferry Landing in San Francisco.
A large copper kettle was set up where passengers getting on and off the ships were encouraged to keep the kettle boiling by tossing coins to help the less fortunate.
The first kettle raised enough to host a Christmas dinner for the poor.
The first time a kettle was used in Canada was in St. John’s Newfoundland in 1906 and now 113 years later, there are kettles in well over 2000 locations across Canada with every one of them used to collect money to support the work of the Salvation Army, funding programs and providing assistance directly to families in deed during the Christmas season and throughout the year.
Cook wrote that for six weeks, from November 12 to Dec 24, they have kettles set up at various locations around St Albert, Spruce Grove, and Stony Plain.
Christmas Kettle donations can be made using cash or cheque at any of their kettle locations and they now have two interac machines at most locations as well.
Donations can also be processed at The Salvation Army Church Office at the corner of Liberton and Giroux.
Locally they have assisted families and individuals with warm winter wear, work boots, prescription medications, grocery vouchers, transportation needs, toys at Christmas, rent and utility payments, advocacy and referrals as well as household items and budgeting guidance.
They run a variety of programs such as Tot time, Lunch with the Bunch, Collective Kitchen, summer day camps and week-long summer camps for kids.
Cook mentioned that last year alone their Christmas Kettle collected almost $ 58,000 in loose change weighing in at 1023 lbs.
In total last year, their Christmas Kettle Campaign brought in more than $350,000.
This year, with increased needs and rising costs they are hoping to raise $400,000.
Cook said they are always looking for volunteers, short shifts, long shift individuals or families all are welcome.