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Salvation Army thanks volunteers; launches 2015 Christmas Kettle campaign
The Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign officially got underway on Nov. 28, after a special volunteer lunch. Taking part in the kettle launch were (from left) Capt. Brent Haas, Capt. Melissa Haas, Deputy Mayor Cora Hamel Pardy, Mary Snelgove, representative for MP Yvonne Jones; councillor Jackie Compton Hobbs; and Labrador City Lieuts. Crystal Porter and Norm Porter.
©Bonnie Learning/The Labradorian
It was a day filled with thanks and gratitude, as dozens of people gathered at the Salvation Army Church in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for a special luncheon.
The church hall was filled with volunteers on Nov. 28, as Salvation Army Capt. Brent Haas gave words of thanks to those who help the Salvation Army throughout the year in its various fundraisers and outreach work.
“I believe one of the greatest ways we can say ‘thank you’, is to let you know the ways in which you have made a difference in the lives of others,” said Haas.
“The only reason we can do what we do is because of you. If we didn’t have volunteers, sponsors…if there were not groups in this community that supported us, we would not be able to do what we do.”
Haas said a question posed to him last year, — what difference does a person or a group make when they help the Salvation Army?
Haas said he remembers standing on the Christmas kettle last year, when a woman approached him and told him that a little blessing card — which are handed out during the kettle campaign — saved her life.
“She said she was diagnosed with cancer three years previous and didn’t know how she would tell her family,” recalled Haas. “She said she decided to go for a walk.”
She put on her winter coat, Haas said, and she reached into her pocket and found the little blessing card two or three years prior.
“She read the little card which said, ‘be strong and courageous, for the Lord will be with you, wherever you go.’”
“She said that was all she needed. ‘Look at me now; I’m a cancer survivor,’” said Haas.
“Who would have guessed that little card could have such an impact on someone’s life?”
Haas recalled instances over the past year in which the Salvation Army — sometimes in partnership with other organizations — reached out to those in need, from a gentleman who stopped by the church one day in January with his toes poking out of his sneakers, to helping assist the victims of a boarding house fire obtain new clothing, glasses and government ID.
“We went to the emergency department….and the most anybody had on was a pair of pyjama’s,” recalled Haas. “There was one gentleman who had on just a pair of boxer shorts — he had jumped from a second-storey window where his room was.
“We got all their clothing sizes, we called Riff’s (staff) in early and within an hour and a half, every person had clothes, shoes, winter boots winter clothing…we were able to help with the basic needs of all these individuals because of you.”
Haas noted the Salvation Army has assisted people who did not have the financial means to attend family funerals out of town; sent pallets water to Hopedale this past spring; and have partnered with the Kindness Connection to provide necessities to those in need.
Haas said they often help those who fall through the cracks in terms of not meeting specific criteria for var ious programs for assistance.
“Right now, today, we are helping house five people — either in a hotel or a bed-and-breakfast, that otherwise would be on the street,” he said. “The Salvation Army is able to pay for their accommodations. Why? Because of people like you.”
Haas said every day there’s food vouchers and clothing vouchers distributed to those in need; 30 or more people who come to the Salvation Army’s monthly soup kitchens; and special dinners held for occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“What difference does the Salvation Army make because of you? It makes all the difference.
“For some who are hopeless, we give them hope. For those who are in turmoil, we give them peace. For those who feel abandoned and unloved, we’ve been able to tell them that somebody cares. And that is because of you.”
Haas said never underestimate the difference it makes to stand at the Christmas kettle, or canvass for the Red Shield campaign.
“This year, we have touched more lives in Labrador than we have ever done before. Why? Because of you.”
Haas said with the continued support of volunteers, the Salvation Army will continue make a difference in the lives of others.
This year’s Christmas kettle campaign is now underway, and will continue up to and including Christmas Eve.
Kettles will be set up at NorthMart, Terrington Co-op and the Liquor Store.