Mayor Sharon Gaetz prepares to make the first donation to the Salvation Army's annual kettle campaign at City Hall on Wednesday. With her are (from left) Salvation Army Captains Tracy and Orest Goyak

Red kettle campaign brings sound of Christmas to Chilliwack

Those iconic Salvation Army red kettles made their annual debut in Chilliwack this weekend.

Those iconic red kettles made their annual debut in Chilliwack this weekend.

Christmas Kettle volunteers were ringing the bells at 14 separate locations, including outside some grocery stores, pharmacies and liquor stores.

Chilliwack Salvation Army captains Orest and Tracy Goyak are the new pastors, who joined Mayor Sharon Gaetz and Kettle campaign coordinator Hank Pilotte for the 12th annual Christmas Kettle Campaign launch at City Hall last week.

“Being new to Chilliwack, it’s been amazing for us to see such support for the community,” said Captain Orest Goyak. “People really have a heart for the Army here.”

The local Sally Ann will be looking to fill a whopping 3800 hours with volunteers in two-hour kettle shifts throughout the pre-Christmas season. That’s in order to meet the 2014 aim of raising $140,000 in Chilliwack, in their biggest fundraising effort of the year.

“It’s tremendously important that we achieve our goal,” said campaign coordinator Hank Pilotte. As of Nov. 27, they’ll be on duty Monday to Saturday until closing with the kettles.

The funds stay in Chilliwack, and go to fund Sally Ann food banks, family services, hampers, clothing and household vouchers, emergency services, housing assistance and more.

“I am just so thankful for the people who get out there in Chilliwack and actually do this,” Mayor Sharon Gaetz said about kettle volunteers. “It cheers me up and touches my heart when the little kids come over to put something in a kettle. What a wonderful thing for people to teach their kids.”

With the public’s generosity, The Salvation Army last year in Canada:

• provided 6,035 shelter, addictions, detox and mental health beds each night for vulnerable men, women and families in Canada.

• served 2.6 million free meals.

•  assisted 1.35 million people with food, clothing or practical assistance.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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