Salvation Army Kettle. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

Over $485K raised in Red Kettle campaign

The Salvation Army of Chatham-Kent came up a little short in reaching its goal of $500,000 through the organization’s annual Red Kettle campaign. However, what was raised still managed to help out several local families over the holiday season.

The 2018 campaign raised $485,752 through red kettles and mail-out donations. The amount is short of the 2018 target and is also about $5,000 less than what was raised in 2017.

“As far as the red kettles, it was excellent. We ended up with [approximately] $3,000 over our target for the kettles,” said Captain Karen Holland. “What brought us down on our combination goal… were our mail-outs, we didn’t get as much as we had hoped for.”

Holland said it is possible the Canada Post labour disruption may have deterred people from mailing cheque donations this year but it’s hard to pinpoint an exact cause.

“We did not get back as many mail-outs as we had in previous years,” she said. “I know there are a lot of very worthwhile fundraisers going on at that time of the year so whether or not that was split up more this year or not, I’m not really sure.”

In total, donations made to the Salvation Army’s campaign helped stock 850 Christmas hampers with 609 bags of toys, which went to families within Chatham-Kent. Donations also stocked food banks in Chatham, Wallaceburg, Ridgetown and Blenheim.

“I just can’t stress enough how appreciative we are for what we did receive. It was very close [to the goal],” she said. “We really want to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone involved, the volunteers, the people who gave donations of food or money or time… there’s a lot of generous people out there and we wouldn’t have been able to do what we do without them.”

Holland said the amount of money raised for 2018 will be kept in mind when they create a goal for the 2019 campaign. She said it’s likely they won’t set a target higher than $500,000 but it’s too early to tell if they’ll try again for the same goal.