While it has been a busy year for The Salvation Army dealing with the demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, their season is about to get even busier as they work to make sure everyone has a Merry Christmas season.
To get ready for the season The Salvation Army is holding the Red Bag Food Drive on November 26. This is one of the most important food drives for The Salvation Army because it helps to fill the Christmas food hampers well as stock the shelves for the food bank.
Amanda Courtenay, Community and Family Services coordinator at The Salvation Army, says this year there is high demand.
“So far, we have had over 100 hampers, more than last year with Christmas combined,” said Courtenay. “We had 739 last year with Christmas, and right now we are sitting at 830 so far for this year without Christmas, that’s a huge jump.”
Last year The Salvation Army distributed 167 Christmas hampers, and they anticipate the number could be higher this year. One bright spot is the community is still showing its support during these trying times and donating. She also says they are grateful for the surrounding Hutterite colonies who have consistently donated all kinds of fresh produce, everything from beets to cabbage.
“They have been dropping off potatoes and carrots since the beginning of COVID. “Every single time we need potatoes or carrots we call one of the colonies and they drop them off,” she said.
Another big part of The Salvation Army Christmas Campaign is the kettles. These funds are used locally to support the services The Salvation Army provides to the community. The Kettle Kick-Off is on Friday, November 20 at Freson Bros.
The goal of the kettle campaign is $37,000 and they will be at Freson Bros, Extra Foods, Wal-Mart, and Ace Liquor Depot.
Registration for Christmas hampers begins on November 16 and goes until November 27. Because of COVID, this has to be done by appointment only.
“That is why we are doing two weeks instead of one to spread it out a little bit and give more opportunity,” said Courtenay. “We are staying open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays instead of 4:30 just in case people are working.”
The Red Bag Food Drive is on November 26 and begins at 6 p.m. The red bags are included in this week’s edition of The Drumheller Mail. Simply fill the bag with your donation of non-perishable food items you wish to donate and leave it on your front porch for volunteers to pick up. If you did not receive a red bag or want to fill more than one, they can be picked up at Freson Bros, McDonald’s and ExtraFoods.
On the night of the food drive, volunteers form up in designated muster points throughout the valley and then deliver the red bags to Salvation Army Church. Courtenay says some volunteers may be turned away at the food bank to comply with social distancing. There are more opportunities to volunteer for the food bank the next day to date check, and sort food.
For more information, volunteer for kettles, or to make an appointment to register for a hamper, contact the Salvation Army at 403-823-2215.