Salvation Army kicks off kettle campaign as calls for help reach new highs

Maj. Jamie Locke of the Salvation Army says no one who comes to the organization for help will be turned away. (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)
Maj. Jamie Locke of the Salvation Army says no one who comes to the organization for help will be turned away. (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)
Peter Cowan/CBC
Peter Cowan/CBC

The Salvation Army in Newfoundland and Labrador says the current cost of living is so high that the organization will dip into its own operating budget if the annual holiday donation drive isn't sufficient enough to meet demand.

The Army launched its annual kettle drive on Friday, banking on donations from the public as demand for services such as food banks and shelters is climbing.

"We're already seeing a 30 per cent increase in people coming to us for support. That's for things such as food bank support and even an increase in some of our more urban settings, at our homeless shelter facility," said spokesperson Maj. Jamie Locke.

"We're seeing people facing challenges that have not been experienced in quite a number of years."

Locke said the Salvation Army, which served 10,000 families last year, is gearing up for a busy holiday season and a long winter.

"We're expecting a high increase in volume this year," he said.

"We will see no one go without. Absolutely everybody that comes to the Salvation Army, seeking assistance, will receive support."

Peter Cowan/CBC
Peter Cowan/CBC

The Labrador West Food Bank is also seeing an increase in the number of clients recently, saying people from all walks of life are coming through the door.

"No doubt the inflation that's upon us now affects that in terms of perhaps not just numbers, but maybe the types of demography of the people who are coming," said food bank chair Peter Reccord in a recent interview.

"Other food banks have been in the news a lot lately, and it seems like the arrow is going up, almost straight up in some cases."

Reccord said the group hopes to get food and monetary donations ahead of the holiday season as they prepare their holiday hampers. Calls for hampers are already coming in, he said, and the community has been more than willing to help.

"The generosity of the region has been very supportive, and it allows us to carry a fairly wide range of items in our food pantries," he said.

"With the income coming in and the generosity of the people in all walks of life … that allows us to provide food for those who are less fortunate."

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