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Don't Forget The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign!
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By Haydn Jensen

You probably have seen the familiar red kettles around London when you're out shopping. But, if you're like me and use Interac all the time—and rarely carry cash—you're also familiar with that guilty feeling when walking by the kettle. The Salvation Army's Christmas kettle campaign is back in full swing once again—this year with a $475,000 goal. So far they are close to a quarter of the way there.

The Salvation Army sees an ever-increasing need for Christmas hampers. In London alone the Army expects the need to be around 6,000 household hampers this year. This is double the need from 10 years ago. Each hamper includes food for a Christmas Dinner, a gift card for a meat of choice, and toys for children 12 and under.

If you generally don't like to carry cash but want to give, you could plan ahead and bring a little with you next time you're going near a Christmas kettle location. If that's too much for you, The Salvation Army folks understand. Thankfully there are other convenient ways to give, likely designed just for people like me who don't tend to carry cash around anymore:

Online: www.fillthekettle.com

Text message: text "hope4004" to 45678.

Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

As well, a new and fun feature for Twitter users is the “Where in the world is Sally Ann” contest. Sponsored by the local radio station Classic Rock Free 98.1, "Sally Ann", The Salvation Army's mascot shows up at events, kettles, toy drives, etc. around town. Take a picture of "Sally Ann", and tweet it to @TSALondon using the hashtag #ISawSallyAnn, specifying what the location is. Pictures can also be submitted using the Blackburn Radio App. Location prizes are given out to the first valid entry from each location and on December 24, 2014 a Grand Prize draw for a concert package worth about $800 will be announced.

Besides giving a little extra cash, you could also consider donating your time. You may have noticed that kettles aren't always staffed by Salvation Army representatives—they welcome volunteers from churches, service clubs, the community, etc. to help out. Volunteers can visit www.LondonChristmasKettle.ca to sign-up or call 519-433-6106.

According to the most recent Salvation Army audited report, overall, 86 cents of each revenue dollar received by The Salvation Army is used directly in charitable activities. These revenues include government funding, public donations, fees for service, investment income, and net profits from Thrift Store operations. This dollar use substantially exceeds the Canada Revenue Agency guideline of 65 percent efficiency. It may surprise you to learn that less than 30% of The Salvation Army's revenue comes from donations. The largest support comes from government funding which provides around 35% of needed revenue.

Although the Salvation Army typically serves without fanfare in communities, it is worth noting that The Salvation Army has a proven track record that goes back almost 150 years, and more than 130 years in Canada. This has made it one of the world's largest providers of social services, and one of the most trusted. In their own words, "The Salvation Army gives hope and dignity to vulnerable people today and every day in over 400 communities across Canada and more than 125 countries around the world!"

So, next time you walk by a kettle, perhaps you can join with them in helping their good work to continue.