Salvation Army feeling the effects of inflation

Salvation Army Kettle. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

The Salvation Army’s red kettles have been out in Chatham for about a week, collecting donations for their food and toy hampers.

Kettles will go out in Wallaceburg and Blenheim on Thursday, but volunteers are needed to stand by the kettles.

“People are still a little nervous about it, and we also require them to be double-vaccinated at the kettle,” said Captain Stephen Holland. “So it’s a little more difficult to find people, but we’re doing out best and people are giving like they always do.”

To book a volunteer shift, call 519-354-8353. But a lack of volunteers isn’t the only thing affecting this year’s campaign, inflation is also causing issues.

Capt. Holland said food prices have gone up, and that’s impacted their food hampers this year.

“We did a study on comparison 2019 for our Christmas hampers to this year and the food went up 35 per cent. I know you feel it in the grocery store, imagine the low-income families and how much they find it hard.”

Captain Holland added that they don’t have a goal this year, but last year they raised $600,000.

“And that’s wonderful considering in about two months. This year I’m not sure, we’re short about $60,000 already in our fundraising. So anything helps, but I know people are tapped out.”

Some new technology could help increase donations. With fewer people using cash, some of the red kettles have a tiptap machine, which allows people to donate $5, $10 or $20 with their credit or debit card.

The Salvation Army is also accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for kids 0-12, and non-perishable food items, school snacks and hygiene products. Those can be dropped off at 46 Orangewood Boulevard in Chatham, 600 Lowe Avenue in Wallaceburg, and 18 Main Street East in Ridgetown by December 4.