After volunteering at the Salvation Army in the soup kitchen

Video geared to helping the Chilliwack Salvation Army

With just a week to go before Christmas in Chilliwack, the Sally Ann's kettle campaign is down by $10,000.

A new video about the work of the Chilliwack Salvation Army is a local family’s way of giving back.

When the Masters family found out that donations were down at their local Sally Ann recently, they resolved to do something about it.

Now just a week to go before Christmas, the kettle donations are still down by a whopping $10,000.

The Masters decided to shoot a professional video showcasing the Salvation Army’s good works in the hopes it would give the donations a serious boost.

They did it with deepest appreciation of what is done by Sally Ann, every single day for Chilliwack’s most needy.

Graham Masters, a webmaster, put the video images, music, stills and interviews together carefully, with the help of his wife, Amanda Masters, a Progress ad sales rep. Chilliwack personality Trevor McDonald was recruited for his empathetic nature and to volunteer his narration skills for the voiceover.

But that’s not where this story ends. There’s a lovely little back story to the project.

“The video we created was all because of my 26-year-old son, Danny Crowle,” says Amanda Masters.

Danny was left with incomplete paraplegia following a surgical operation in England, and a year ago he was still in a wheelchair. He worked briefly when they moved to Chilliwack but the employer would not accommodate his physical challenges in a way that he could stay on the job.

Danny was off work for nearly a year. He fell into a deep depression and rarely left his room.

Masters decided to check in with the folks at Sally Ann about the prospect of Danny volunteering at the Care and Share Centre on Yale Road. Would they accept her son as a volunteer?

“We didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t help him.”

Danny still didn’t want to climb out of his pit, but he gave it a shot.

He started working in the Salvation Army soup kitchen and doing intake work, and giving out hampers to clients.

He volunteered for six months straight.

It didn’t matter how he was feeling, he got up and went into work at the Salvation Army Care and Share Centre on Yale Road. Gradually, he gained confidence and self-esteem.

A whole new world started opening up for him.

“It literally brought him back from the brink,” says Masters. “He’s a different person. I so wanted to give back in turn.”

The Salvation Army literally became the source of her son’s salvation.

“It helped to make him feel like a real worthwhile person. So it was the Salvation Army helping someone in a completely different way here. It gave him a new lease on life.”

Not only that, but in a matter of months Danny was offered a position. He now works at the emergency shelter, helping the down and out.

“Now he has a future,” she says, beaming with pride.

Danny agrees. He was more than thrilled to take on the casual shelter position they offered him.

“It made me feel really good about myself that someone recognized that I had something to contribute,” he says. “To be offered that job lifted my spirits. It made me a much happier person overall.”

The video will help by illustrating all their efforts to help the needy, he says.

“Some people don’t realize how much effort goes into getting the hampers together or kettle donations for example.”

The video has so far been extremely well-received by Salvation Army officials, like Ian Pratt, community ministries director.

“It really showcases what we’re doing,” says Pratt. “It also lets people know how much need is out there in the community.

Local schools want the video for their assemblies, and community members are reporting how much they liked it.

“They did a professional job. Making a video like that is something I wanted to do for a few years.”

It was also a handy and effective way to let people know they can give a $5 donation by texting Hope1003 to 45678.

At press time the video had more than 420 views on Youtube, and it’s driving people to their Facebook page.

Pratt said they’re excited and thankful for the video project, and for their new employee, Danny Crowle.

When Danny started he was “super quiet” but he’s since “blossomed” into the compassionate worker at the shelter, says Pratt.

He is also willing to jump in and help out wherever he was needed, which he amply demonstrated as a volunteer.

“Danny has been a real asset to us, and he’s a really nice guy.

“He has that caring spirit that it takes to do this work. He understands the people he is dealing with at intake, or at the food bank or in the soup kitchen.

And he’s grown as a person since starting here. You can see it in his confidence and the way he interacts with people.”

Check out the new video above.

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