GUELPH POLITICAST #248 – Red Kettle Days

If the weather last weekend didn’t tip you off, Christmas is coming, and one of the most recognizable signs of the season is the legion of volunteers who stand by the red kettles of the Salvation Army collecting physical money for Christmas programs. This was hard enough in a time of “going cashless” but in the year of COVID, collecting physical money from someone in-person seems doubly unlikely.

A few weeks ago, the Salvation Army announced the start of its annual red kettle campaign, which arrived in the face of a 19 per cent increase in the number of people using Salvation Army charities in 2020. The Salvation Army has set itself the goal of raising $23 million for this year’s Christmas Red Kettle Campaign, and that money will go to help 1.9 million people in Canada by providing holiday meals, food hampers and toys, and even practical help like skills training or housing support.

But then there’s the practical consideration of how that money is going to be raised. Salvation Army spokesperson Lt-Colonel John P. Murray said that the organization will “refuse to let the pandemic steal their Christmas joy,” and that they still intend to have their physical kettles in the usual spots. Having said that though, the Salvation Army is keenly aware that this is not a typical year, and some of the old ways they raise money just will not work. So what will that entail?

Dan Millar, the Area Director for Public Relations for the Great Lakes Division of the Salvation Army, will join us this week to answer that question and discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on this year’s campaign, and how the Salvation Army has to work with different health restrictions in different areas. He will also talk about the best ways people can help out this year, and how he and his colleagues stay hopeful in the face of all they deal with every day.

So let’s talk about raising money during this very unique Christmas season on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

There will be Red Kettles out and about in the community this year, but if you would prefer to give virtually, you have that option at FilltheKettle.com. If you’re looking for more ways to give, or for ways to give back, you can get in touch with the Guelph branch of the Salvation Army at 519-836-9360 or by email at office@guelphsa.ca.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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