Sal­va­tion Army launches Christ­mas cam­paign in Swift Cur­rent

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBEN­BERG mlieben­berg@prairiepos­

The of­fi­cial launch of the Sal­va­tion Army's 105th an­nual Christ­mas cam­paign in Swift Cur­rent took place with a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony and the open­ing of the Mir­a­cle Room with an­gel tree in the Swift Cur­rent Mall, Nov. 24.

Ma­jor Don Grad noted that the Christ­mas cam­paign is al­ways an ex­cit­ing and busy time for the Sal­va­tion Army in Swift Cur­rent.

“Swift Cur­rent is an amaz­ing com­mu­nity,” he said. “We don't know of any other com­mu­nity across Canada on a per capita ba­sis that sup­ports the Army like Swift Cur­rent, and it is so ex­cit­ing. This time of year, my staff know, I just wan­der around say­ing thank you Je­sus, just for the pro­vi­sion and for the peo­ple and ev­ery­thing we get that help make what we do hap­pen.”

The Christ­mas cam­paign is the Sal­va­tion Army's main fundrais­ing event in the com­mu­nity. The goal of this year's cam­paign is to raise $220,000 to sup­port the food bank and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The funds we raise now are what will ba­si­cally run the food bank for the rest of the year,” he said. “Now of course we get do­na­tions year round, but this is our main kick and it's our main source for ev­ery­thing from heat and light and all that sort of stuff that we need to make the food bank and the op­er­a­tion run.”

The 2018 fundrais­ing tar­get is slightly higher than last year's cam­paign goal of $215,000. Com­mu­nity sup­port helped the Sal­va­tion Army to ex­ceed that goal and the fi­nal amount raised was $231,775.

“Two years ago we went over by $30,000 and we were able to use those funds to put in two wish list items, a walk-in freezer and a com­mer­cial dish­washer in our kitchen,” he said. “So we can now serve our com­mu­nity meal on real plates. Those have been in­stalled and if we go way over again, there are other wish list items that we'll come up with or we have, and we want to make use of what we get in the best way we can.”

Last year vol­un­teers helped to pre­pare and dis­trib­ute 284 Christ­mas food ham­pers, which pro­vided sup­port to 299 adults and 258 chil­dren or youth.

“My sense would be that we're about sim­i­lar to past years,” he said about this year's need in the com­mu­nity. “When we get the fi­nal num­bers in, we'll know if we're up, down or what­ever. There are some peo­ple of course who for any num­ber of cir­cum­stances are on so­cial ser­vices and we see them year after year. It's just cir­cum­stances of life some­times, but we do see a float­ing num­ber that come and go.”

Peo­ple who re­ceived Christ­mas ham­pers dur­ing the past two years have con­tacted the Sal­va­tion Army to find out how they can help oth­ers this year.

“So it's ex­cit­ing to hear that there are suc­cess sto­ries,” he said. “That we've been able to help them, but now they're back on the run and they want to help and con­tinue the gift as it goes along. So we are so ex­cited to be able to do this and to be a part of this com­mu­nity.”

The two-week ap­pli­ca­tion pe­riod for Christ­mas ham­pers ended on Nov. 29. This will give staff and vol­un­teers enough time to or­ga­nize the ham­pers, which will be dis­trib­uted in the week be­fore Christ­mas.

The clos­ing date for the do­na­tion of toys to chil­dren in need is Dec. 12. Any­one who wants to buy a toy for a child can take a tag from the an­gel tree in the Mir­a­cle Room, which is lo­cated near Safe­way in­side the Swift Cur­rent Mall.

These tags have the wishes of chil­dren for Christ­mas, and the toys will be dis­trib­uted as part of a fam­ily's food ham­per.

Vol­un­teers are needed to ring the bells at the Christ­mas ket­tles, which are lo­cated at the Mir­a­cle Room, Wal­mart, Pi­o­neer Co-op, and Phar­masave. There will also be a ket­tle at the liquor store start­ing Dec. 1.

There will be op­por­tu­ni­ties to sup­port the Christ­mas cam­paign at two up­com­ing events in Swift Cur­rent. The teddy bear toss takes place at the Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos game. Dec. 1. Peo­ple can throw teddy bears, toques and mitts on the ice after the Bron­cos score their first goal against the Bran­don Wheat Kings.

The CP hol­i­day train will make an evening stop in Swift Cur­rent at 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 6. The Sal­va­tion Army will pro­vide hot choco­late to those in at­ten­dance, and there will be a truck on site to re­ceive food do­na­tions. Mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment will be pro­vided by Terri Clark, Sierra No­ble and Kelly Prescott.

Any­one in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing for a Christ­mas ket­tle shift can call Ar­lene at 306-741-1714 or the Sal­va­tion Army of­fice at 306-778-0515 for more in­for­ma­tion about vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties and ways to sup­port the Christ­mas cam­paign.

Photo by Matthew Lieben­berg

Duane Ring vol­un­teered for a shift at the Christ­mas ket­tle in the Swift Cur­rent Mall, Nov. 24.

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