Salvation Army kettle campaign kicks off to help those in need this holiday season

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

The Salvation Army has once more kicked off their annual Kettle Campaign fundraiser in the Rainy River District, and this year their efforts are more important than ever.

Salvation Army Fort Frances corps officer Arthur Heathcote and outgoing mayor June Caul launched the campaign with the first donation at Walmart Fort Frances on Monday, November 14, 2022. The kettle campaign helps to raise money to support the organization’s Christmas programs, including the hampers that go out to families in need in the area. all the collected donations are kept in the district.

Heathcote noted the Salvation Army’s campaign will run through the rest of November and most of December in order to collect as many donations and help as many families as possible.

“The kettle kick-off started today and we’re going to be running through to Friday, December 23,” he said.

“We have three locations set up in town; Safeway, The Place and Walmart here in Fort Frances. There’s a kettle also set up at Cloverleaf in Emo, and there’s one at Beaver Mills Market in Rainy River as well.”

Last year’s kettles also featured an innovative addition in a Tap function for debit and credit cards. However, Heathcote said there have been some logistical difficulties this year, and so they have not yet received the tap units but “look forward to getting that up and operational’ once they do arrive.

The power of the Salvation Army kettle campaign lies as much in the people donating to the cause as it does on volunteers to take a shift ringing the bells at each kettle location, and Heathcote noted they are still looking for and welcoming those volunteers for this year’s campaign.

“We’re looking for volunteers to give us a hand with the campaign,” Heathcote said.

“We’re so thankful to the mayor to be able to come out and kick off this campaign for us this year. If anyone would like to volunteer, they can give us a call at 807-291-0012 and I’d be happy to sign them on.”

For her part, Caul has attended each one of the campaign’s kick-offs since she was elected as mayor of Fort Frances. She said the spirit of giving is part of what Christmas is all about, and she has made sure over her tenure as mayor to support the Salvation Army’s campaigns, along with other initiatives that help those in need.

“We have so many people who are in more in need now than ever with the economy the way it is,” Caul said.

“This is such an important campaign that the Salvation Army does every year. It’s their biggest campaign of the year, and I’m happy to always be part of it, whether it’s ringing the bells, donating a little bit, or certainly I’m very proud as the mayor to be able to be part of the kick-off.”

Of course, it’s not just because Caul is mayor that she made it a point to support these initiatives over the past four years. She said she’s always been a community-minded person and has worked hard to continue to show that dedication and commitment to others as mayor.

“The personal connection to people and to special occasions, special events that are happening for the community in general are the most important to me,” she said.

“Whether it’s helping out the homeless, helping out the poor, helping out the underprivileged, helping out seniors, helping out any who are in need in any way, that’s always been the kind of person I am and those are the most important initiatives for me to always be involved in. I always have been a people person and I love to be in the community and be able to support initiatives like this that are so important to everybody.”

Support is, again, crucial this year as the cost of living continues to rise across the country, and the impacts of higher prices on necessities like groceries is felt more and more keenly by everyday Canadians. Heathcote said the kettle campaign this year is critical to helping those in need across the district.

“It is a critical campaign every year, but specifically this year,” he explained.

“We’ve seen an increase in need once again, so we want to make sure that everyone who applies gets a hamper, and for anyone who has children, there are toys under the tree for Christmas.”