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Salvation Army short of volunteers to run donation kettles

Almost half the shifts are still open for the six kettles in Victoria and Esquimalt, says the pastor at the Salvation Army’s High Point Community Church.
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Volunteers Nemad Laketic, left, and Sinisha Ivaz collect donations for the Salvation Army at Esquimalt Plaza. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The Salvation Army’s High Point Community Church says it’s in dire need of volunteers for its Christmas Kettle Campaign.

The church, which serves Victoria and Esquimalt, has seen a drop in the number of people willing to give their time to stand in front of businesses and other retail partners with the bright red donation “kettles.”

“We only have six kettles in operation and, of the 624 shifts available, we still have 309 open slots,” said Joshua Cain, pastor at the church. “This our key fundraising campaign, where we raise the bulk of our money. But right now we are at one-third of our capacity and less than 10 per cent of our fundraising goal this year.”

He said that shifts are two hours long, but groups of people can also arrange among themselves to split it into two one-hour stints. Locations can be indoor or outdoors. The campaign runs until Dec. 23.

While cash is still accepted, many “kettles” also accept electronic donations. On the kettles equipped with electronic devices, donors can tap on one of three squares, electronically donating $5, $10 or $20 — the three most common denominations, said Cain.

All donations go toward programs and services the Salvation Army provides for the less-fortunate in the community.

Cain, who has manned his share of shifts this season due to the shortage, sees a silver lining in the role.

“Sure, it’s just ringing bells and standing by a kettle. But it is also an opportunity to greet people and spread joy. It’s about the holiday spirit. Last week, an older gentleman saw the kettle, came up to me and remarked: ‘Now, it’s Christmas.’ ”

To volunteer, call 250-383-6290, email fernando.perez@salvationarmy.ca or facebook.com/HighPointChurch.

parrais@timescolonist.com