The Salvation Army is looking for a few folks to ring bells and stand next to their distinctive red kettles around Langley this holiday season.
The annual Kettle Campaign for the local Salvation Army and its Gateway of Hope shelter kicked off last week, and will run up until Christmas Eve.
Carl Pauls is organizing the volunteer campaign for the second year in a row.
“It’s the foundation for the budget,” he said. “Everything that goes into the kettle, goes into the budget.”
And that budget supports programs like feeding and sheltering the homeless and hungry, job training, Christmas hampers, a school supply drive, addiction counselling, and other services.
Pauls first got involved as a volunteer addictions counsellor, and was asked to help out with the big annual fundraiser two years ago.
It’s a big job.
“I have 3,500 two-hour shifts to fill,” he said.
“I’ll be lucky to fill half that.”
However, things are looking better than last year.
There are returning volunteers who take one or two shifts, or a whole string of them.
There are also a number of partners, including fellow social assistance organizations such as Stepping Stone Community Services and Pathways, that lend a hand.
Businesses like RBC and McCallum Law will have their employees take turns at the kettles, and school and church groups including adults and youth from places such as Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church and Regent Christian Academy will offer a hand.
A shift with a kettle is a good idea for a family, Pauls said.
“Let’s get away from the iPad and the TV,” he suggested.
Is there a best location for the kettles?
“My favourite spot is the Otter Co-op,” Pauls said, saying the folks out there are generous.
Anyone interested in signing up to volunteer can call the Gateway of Hope at 604-514-7375, and ask to speak to Carl Pauls, Julie, or Dan.
There is an online signup form on the Gateways website here, but if the form is too complicated, Pauls encourages people to call.