Sal­va­tion Army ket­tles ready to ring

The Barrie Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - CH­ERYL BROWNE

Like Pavlov’s dog, when Bar­rie res­i­dents hear the jin­gle of a bell, they reach for their wal­lets.

The Bar­rie Bay­side Mis­sion Cen­tre is kick­ing off the Sal­va­tion Army’s Ket­tle Drive — its largest fundraiser of the year — with just over five weeks left to reach its goal of col­lect­ing $505,000.

“We are here sim­ply to help oth­ers in need ,” said Maj. Doug Lewis, ex­ec­u­tivedi­rec­tor of the mis­sion on Bay field Street. “We be­come peo­ples’ hands and feet. We ac­cept their do­na­tions and give to who­ever is in need.”

With 42% of its op­er­at­ing costs com­ing from Sim­coe County, the lo­cal shel­ter must raise the rest of its $1.8 mil­lion bud­get through fundrais­ing, Lewis said.

And this year, the meal pro­gram is up by 11%, he said.

“We served 98,000 meals last year. We do ap­prox­i­mately 300 each day, with about 100 (peo­ple) at lunch and an­other 200 for din­ner,” he added.

The Sal­va­tion Army was ini­tially started in 1865 by Wil­liam and Cather­ine Booth as the East Lon­don Chris­tian Mis­sion. It opened in Canada in 1882. In the army’s stor­age unit, the plas­tic bub­ble-style do­na­tion bins were stacked neatly across the aisle from the boxes of socks, work­pants and toys to be given to men and fam­i­lies in need.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re a men’s shel­ter, but we have a fam­ily com­po­nent, too,” Lewis said.

While ladies can go to the Eliz­a­beth Fry So­ci­ety or the Women and Chil­dren’s Shel­ter of Bar­rie for sup­port, fam­i­lies of­ten have nowhere to turn, he said.

The Bay­side Mis­sion sup­ports a dozen fam­i­lies in mo­tels if they have be­come home­less.

Lewis is hop­ing the 450 vol­un­teers who rung bells last year and ac­cepted do­na­tions at one of the its 23 lo­ca­tions will help again this Christ­mas sea­son.

Reg­u­lar com­mu­nity donors, such as Star­bucks, Fox’s Bak­ery and Wil­liams Fresh Café of­fer sup­plies each day, said the mis­sion’s driver, Tracey Deschamps.

Twice a week, Deschamps picks up of­fer­ings from Costco and the Great Cana­dian Bagel.

“And we get reg­u­lar do­na­tions from Wal­mart and Ge­or­gian Downs, too,” she said.

Be­tween now and Nov. 28, the mis­sion is also host­ing its Win­ter Coat Drive and will ac­cept coats, snow pants, mit­tens, hats and scarves to of­fer to peo­ple who visit the cen­tre.

For in­for­ma­tion about vol­un­teer­ing or do­nat­ing to this year’s Ket­tle Drive, con­tact Flo at 705321-2474.

MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Maj. Doug Lewis of the Sal­va­tion Army's Bay­side Mis­sion Cen­tre in Bar­rie makes a stop at a stor­age locker to re­trieve 23 Christ­mas ket­tle stands in prepa­ra­tion for this year's cam­paign.

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