What they do:
A whole lot more than you bargain-shopped for. Launched in Canada in 1886, the Salvation Army is now the largest non-government provider of social services. There are more than 24 Sally Ann facilities in Manitoba, providing more than 35 programs ranging from five shelters for the homeless to support networks for refugees, new mothers and at-risk youth. Not to mention the jam-packed thrift shops.
Hopes for the holidays:
Nothing announces the arrival of the holiday season like the jing-a-ling of a handbell and the tinkle of change in a Salvation Army kettle.
This year, though, the Rudolph-red kettles are looking a little empty. In Winnipeg, 25 kettles in malls and other public spots have garnered $229,000 in donations, far behind the Salvation Army's holiday 2010 goal of $400,000.
On Tuesday, spokeswoman Capt. Tiffany Marshall mused that lingering effects of the economic downturn might have clamped down on donations. But that hasn't dampened the organization's holiday spirit. "We hope that for (families) who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances, that they know there are people who care and want to help," Marshall said. "We hope we can be a helping hand."
So far, some holiday help has been a roaring success. In recent weeks, more than 16,500 toys have flown out of the Sally Ann's Toy Mountain depot, picked out by parents struggling to make ends meet and ensure their kids have something special on Christmas morning. "We don't think any child should have to wake up with nothing because of circumstances their family are living in," Marshall said.
How you can help:
Money is always welcome and there are lots of ways to donate: online at salvationarmy.ca or at any Salvation Army store. If the kettle campaign grabs you, find the one closest to you at fillthekettle.com, or donate online there.