Santa joined members of the Rotary Club of Port Alberni to raise funds for the Salvation Army kettle campaign in December. (PHOTO COURTESY ROTARY CLUB OF PORT ALBERNI)

Santa joined members of the Rotary Club of Port Alberni to raise funds for the Salvation Army kettle campaign in December. (PHOTO COURTESY ROTARY CLUB OF PORT ALBERNI)

2020 a record year for Salvation Army kettles in Port Alberni

Donations surpassed $100K in tough year for community

The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign had a record year in 2020 in Port Alberni.

The organization raised more than $139,000 in community donations, with more still trickling in. This is the first year that the Salvation Army has surpassed its annual goal of $100,000, according to Salvation Army Captain Michael Ramsay.

“I don’t think Port Alberni has ever hit that number,” said Ramsay. “It’s more than I ever could have hoped for. That made it so we were able to bless so many families at this time of year.”

Most of the funds have gone towards filling toy and food hampers for the homeless and low income members of the community. One hundred percent of the funds raised will stay in the Alberni Valley, said Ramsay.

It was a busy year for the Salvation Army. After the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March, a number of community organizations came together to form the COVID-19 Response Team, teaming up to ensure that Port Alberni’s vulnerable population was fed and supplied with hygiene products. The Salvation Army brought in a mobile kitchen unit from Gibsons, B.C. in order to bring food to residents who don’t have the means to get to the Argyle Street location, or who have no fixed address.

Since March, the COVID-19 Response Team has been feeding hundreds of people per day—more than 80,000 individual meals.

“I marvel at just how amazing this community has been,” said Ramsay. “We have so many volunteers, so many partners helping out in so many ways. I think the kettle campaign was a real blessing this year. In the year when there was such a significant need, a need we haven’t seen before, we really stepped up.”

Any funding that was not spent on hampers will go towards feeding people in the Alberni Valley, said Ramsay.

“This is a community with a heart,” he said.

“The community saw there was a real need, and everyone rose to the occasion. When there’s a real need, we all pull together and help one another.”

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