Tri-City generous at the kettles

Sally Ann Capt. Dave MacPherson. - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Sally Ann Capt. Dave MacPherson.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Tri-City shoppers aren’t forgetting the needy this year — and the Salvation Army says thanks.

Sally Ann’s commanding officer, Capt. David MacPherson, said donations are up at the kettles this year, giving him hope that the charity’s unofficial goal of $398,000 will be reached by Christmas.

“Even when the economy goes bad, people really remember the Salvation Army and the kettles,” MacPherson told The Tri-City News.

There are approximately 50 kettles in front of stores in the Tri-Cities and New Westminster, and by mid-week, $116,000 had been collected in loonies, twoonies and $5 bills, with a few large bills thrown in for good measure.

“This year, on Saturday we got a few of the new $100 bills,” MacPherson said.

Salvation Army kettles are a Lower Mainland tradition and MacPherson said people are generous because they know the services help local people and many donors have been touched by the Army themselves or know someone who has.

“We hear lots of stories from folks who tell us about an experience that they have had either during war time or through addictions, or on the street and homeless,” MacPherson said.

The local branch of the Salvation Army is located in New Westminster but MacPherson hopes to have an office in the Tri-Cities if the Christian charitable organization wins the bid to operate Coquitlam’s new shelter and transition housing on city land at 3030 Gordon Ave.

MacPherson said he hopes to hear soon if his organization is successful in its bid. Another group, Hope for Freedom Society, which operates homeless outreach services in the Tri-Cities, has also applied to operate the shelter.

Meanwhile, MacPherson is counting on donations to help hundreds of New Westminster and Tri-City families with summer camps, food and clothing assistance, furniture, pro-bono legal help and backpacks with school supplies.

Coquitlam Centre is a major focus of the Salvation Army and volunteers are out in full force at the mall, he said.

“I don’t think you can get out of there without passing a kettle,” he said. “And if you can, let me know and I’ll put a kettle there.”

• Kettle volunteers are still needed; to help, call Rhonda at 604-521-2421.

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