The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray announced the start of the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign.
Due to public health restrictions, the non-profit had to postpone its annual kickoff event at Peter Pond Mall.
Instead, Major Steve Hibbs said the Salvation Army’s Alberta office will stage a virtual opening ceremony on Nov. 19 called “Hope in the City 2020”.
“Our divisional office is doing a virtual kickoff of which all of us outlying communities are going to be part of that virtual celebration [and] Hayley Wickenheiser is going to be our guest speaker for that event.”
Wickenheiser is a five-time Olympic medallist, member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Despite the challenges from COVID-19, Hibbs said five businesses in Fort McMurray will assist the Salvation Army this year.
- Sobey’s on Thickwood Blvd.
- Independent Grocer on Powder Dr, Timberlea
- Walmart on Hospital St, Downtown
- Canadian Tire on Hospital St, Downtown
- Real Canadian Superstore on Haineault St, Downtown
Hibbs said they are pleased to have them on board, but mentioned there may be challenges in getting volunteers.
“The volunteer base is going to be a challenge this time around, because of people wanting to feel protected. People are going to be a little bit reluctant in volunteering at our different places this year.”
He said there are many spots available to select through Wood Buffalo Volunteers.
The goal for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign is $150,000, which is down from last year’s goal of $200,000.
Hibbs said the decision to reduce this year’s goal is due to the economy and previously mentioned challenges of COVID-19.
He added the Salvation Army found new and creative ways for residents to safely donate towards the campaign.
“Some of the good things that we have going on this year is that we will have our debit machines available with us, but we’re also doing a “Tip Tap”. We have tiles of $5, $10, and $20, and people can tap one of these tiles with their [credit or debit] cards, so it’s sort of ‘Tap and Go’.”
Once the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign officially gets underway, Hibbs said residents may also donate online and through social media.
“On behalf of the Salvation Army of Fort McMurray, thank you for helping us help others.”
The virtual kickoff event begins on Nov. 19 at 12 p.m.
Fort McMurray’s local Christmas Kettle Coordinator is Jennelle Ropson, whose phone number is (587) 646-0981.
For more information about Hope in the City, go to the Salvation Army website