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Area residents asked to give a little bit more

By Randy Thoms Dec 12, 2023 | 3:17 PM

Christmas hampers ready for distribution by the Salvation Army in Fort Frances, December 11, 2023

The Salvation Army in Fort Frances is appealing for more support.

The demand for Christmas hampers this year, which was already high, increased further when another 60 hampers had to be put together.

That was because public participation in the agency’s adopt-a-family program was not as strong as hoped.

Auxiliary Captain Arthur Heathcote says it was down 50 per cent over last year.

“What has happened is the people we’ve counted on for adopt-a-family in the past are not showing up this year. And it’s within good reason, too. People are just trying to keep food on their own shelves first before you can help someone else. So that’s really where the drop has happened,” says Heathcote.

To ensure the added families do not go without this Christmas, the Salvation Army has pulled food from its shelves.

“The challenge that we run into this it means that the extra food is coming off of the pantry shelves, which means there’s less for the critical months of January, February, and March. So it’s a real balancing act at this stage of the game.”

Money raised from the Christmas Kettle campaign and a letter campaign ensure the food bank’s cupboards do not go bare after Christmas.

So far, the kettle program is holding its own, but Heathcote hopes the public will be able to donate a little bit more if they can.

“If you’ve got anything to spare, by all means, drop in that tuning or that loony in the kettle. It’ll make the world a difference and things a lot brighter for the people here in the district this year.”

Heathcote is appreciative of the support and donations received so far.

Various initiatives to raise food and toys have been well received.

“Stuff-a-Cruiser came in with some extra numbers this year that we’re very grateful for. We’re still tabulating toys at this stage of the game. We don’t know how many more we need to buy right now. We normally do have to prop up that supply due to the fact of age differences.”

The Christmas Kettles remain until December 23.

Debit and credit cards are accepted with a tap feature located next to the kettle.

The Salvation Army still has spots for people who want to ring the bells. Contact the Salvation Army by calling 807-291-0012 or email fort.frances@Salvationarmy.ca if you can lend a few hours of your time.