London’s Kettle Campaign Smashes Goal

by Ontario Great Lakes
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    By Jennifer Bieman, The London Free Press
    Monday, December 25, 2017 6:00:21 EST PM

    Their red Christmas kettles are full, and so are their hearts.

    Salvation Army kettle-campaign organizers are beaming after the annual drive handily beat its $550,000 goal – the largest target ever set by the London-area non-profit.

    “We’re speechless. It just speaks to the generosity of the city,” spokesperson Shannon Wise said Sunday.

    “When people hear how great the need is in our community, they really step up.”

    Though the final total won’t be in until the first week of January, the count was already just shy of $600,000 as of Christmas Eve, said Wise.

    London’s 55 kettles came down Saturday after a five-week campaign, but donations are still coming in at fillthekettle.com.

    In 2016, the campaign brought in $648,173 for the organization, a record sum that left the $500,000 target that year in the dust.

    The kettle campaign is the Salvation Army’s single-largest annual fundraiser. Money raised in the five-week blitz supports the non-profit’s support programs year round.

    “Every dollar from this campaign really helps to continue to bring dignity and hope to those in our community, the most vulnerable and marginalized,” Wise said.

    But it’s not just about the money. Wise is humbled by the kindness and generosity of Londoners who also volunteered their time to help out.

    “The most important part is our volunteers. We couldn’t staff those kettles during our campaign without them,” said Wise.

    “They are the heartbeat of our campaign.”

    Wise was also blown away by the public response when the Salvation Army made a last-minute appeal for toys just weeks before Christmas. The agency, which also hands out Christmas hampers to low-income families, was seriously short on toys for children up to two years old.

    Once again, Londoners delivered.

     

    “It’s phenomenal to see how the city comes together to take care of their own,” said Wise.

    “Talk about a Christmas miracle.”

    jbieman@postmedia.com

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