BUCHANS, NL — There’s been a Salvation Army church in Buchans for 90 years, but no one can remember there ever being a Christmas kettle campaign in the town.
This Christmas, the Salvation Army is set to make history by launching its first-ever kettle campaign in the central Newfoundland town.
The campaign was launched Nov. 23, and every Wednesday from now until Dec. 24 the kettle will be set up at Colemans on Main Street.
“This is the first time we know about that this has been in Buchans, so this is like making history,” said Major Betty-Lou Topping, adding all money collected in each town through the kettle stays in that town for family services.
“Nothing goes to the church – the money that comes in here will go into a separate fund,” she said. “During the year when people are looking for food from the food bank or for assistance, that’s the money we use.”
Up until now, money would have to come from church funds, she said.
“This will be able to help us all year when there is a need or a request. That is the advantage of (the kettle campaign).
The exception is the Christmas food hampers. The Salvation Army in Grand Falls-Windsor assists Buchans on that program. The Christmas hamper application process has been completed and was received in Grand Falls-Windsor on Nov. 27.
“The people came to the church to bring in their applications, and we sent the applications down to Grand Falls-Windsor,” said Topping. “They select the toys –
and unfortunately, or fortunately, however you look at it, we don’t have very many kids looking for gifts.”
Last year the church provided gifts to between 25 and 30 families.
“We try not to turn anybody down.”
Topping was pleased with the turnout for the kettle campaign launch.
“We have people here representing the Buchans Ministerial Association, the Buchans Lions Club, the Town of Buchans, businesses, the local Salvation Army Citadel and volunteers,” she said, adding the Salvation Army welcomes volunteers of all faiths.
“It’s a community event; this is not (just) the Salvation Army Church. This is for the community, so anybody can volunteer – we’d certainly appreciate that.”
Volunteers can contact Topping by calling 672-3904 or 293-0071.
Mayor Derm Corbett attended the launch, presenting Topping with a monetary donation on behalf of the Town of Buchans. He wished them well.
“I can’t recall (the kettle campaign) being done in Buchans before,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful idea. There is certainly a need in every town and I’m sure any funds they raise will be put to good use.”
Over the past few years there has been a food drive in the town carried out through a “pack the back of an ambulance” project; hopefully, that will also happen to ensure the local food bank has plenty of things on hand to help local families, said Topping.
The Salvation Army launched its 127th annual national Christmas Kettle Campaign in Toronto Nov. 21, with a goal of raising $21 million. The Salvation Army has been in Buchans for over 90 years. The citadel in the town was opened in 1927.