Salvation Army launches 2022 Christmas Kettle Campaign

The Salvation Army's familiar red kettles are back in five Woodstock stores, and the need to fill them is more significant than ever, say Woodstock Corps Officers Majors Angel and Marlene Sandoval, as they launched the 2022 campaign on Thursday, Nov. 24.

Marlene said this year's campaign slogan, "sharing hope in the midst of hardship," aptly explains the basis of the fundraising program.

Her husband Angel said more people turned to the Salvation Army for emergency support throughout the year as the costs of food, shelter and living expenses continue to grow.

He said Woodstock Salvation Army set a 2022 budget of $60,000, but that fell short of meeting demands. Angel said the region's Salvation Army headquarters in Halifax provided additional financial support.

As they have for several years, Woodstock Mayor Art Slipp and his wife Lynne joined the Sandovals for the Christmas Kettle launch held again this year at the Atlantic Superstore.

"This is one of the highlights of the Christmas season for Lynne and me," said the mayor. "I look forward to this each year."

Mayor Slipp said overseeing the kettles provides an excellent opportunity to talk to residents about their lives, plans for the holiday season and memories of past Christmases.

"It's amazing the number of people who stop and share stories about the Salvation Army helping them in a time of need," he said.

In addition to the Superstore, volunteers will oversee Christmas kettles at Sobeys, Canadian Tire, the N.B. Liquor Store and Walmart.

The Slipps urged shoppers to give generously and volunteer a few hours to oversee the kettles at one of the stores.

Angel said area residents could call him at 1-506-325-8276 to book a time. He explained the schedule is broken into two-hour slots between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. until Christmas.

Area businesses and organizations can also support the kettle campaign by donating money, matching contributions or arranging for staff to oversee the kettles.

Staff from Best Western Woodstock showed its support on the campaign's first day by watching the kettle at Sobeys. The Woodstock hotel's executive director Trina Jones and general manager, Christie Kennedy, encouraged other businesses to support the program, noting the Salvation Army's significant contributions to the Upper Valley.

Angel said the local Scotiabank employees, as they have previously, will designate one day to support the kettle program. On Dec. 3, the bank will match all donations, up to $3,000.

Marlene said the Salvation Army provides struggling residents with emergency funds to help cover household costs, such as power bills, rent, travel expenses and more.

Unfortunately, on Nov. 15, someone tried to help themselves illegally by breaking into the Woodstock Salvation Army offices.

While the thieves didn't steal much, Marlene said, they caused significant damage as they searched for something of value, probably cash.

"We don't keep cash in the office," Angel explained, noting they make daily deposits to the bank.

He said police are investigating.

Angel said someone in desperate need of money would have been more successful just visiting the Salvation Army for financial support rather than breaking in and stealing.

"That's why we are there," he said. "We can help those in need."

Marlene said this year's Salvation Army Christmas celebrations would include the annual Reindeer Run on Saturday, Dec. 10, starting at 9 a.m., with the popular children's breakfast featuring the famous pancakes.

Angel asked anyone planning to attend the breakfast to call ahead at the above number to help them better prepare.

The Sandovals said Christmas is a special time of kindness and socializing, but many people struggle. Marlene explained winter could prove hard on many people, especially newcomers from far-away countries.

"They miss home, and they're not used to the weather," she said.

Marlene said talking to others helps lift their spirits at any time of the year.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun