​Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaigns across Canada, including one in the Foothills were very busy over the holidays.

Around 325 volunteers collected donations at seven locations in Okotoks and High River, those being Costco, Christine’s No Frills, Walmart, Canadian Tire, and Sobeys in Okotoks, as well as Sobeys, Canadian Tire, and CO-OP in High River.

There were eight kettle locations total, but Canadian Tire in High River enlisted help from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The Okotoks Rotary Club also lent a hand, taking over all the shifts in the Okotoks locations for one day.

All in all, locals donated $136,600 well exceeding the $125,000 goal.

Salvation Army Foothills volunteer coordinator Angela Grey Burdick shared the excitement of all of the local volunteers involved this year.

"We are amazingly grateful, overjoyed, we're just so happy it's been such a success."

This was the first year where No Frills was included in the campaign, and Burdick says it was a great addition.

“We only did half a dozen days there but the days that we did do, we had such a great result. The customers really interacted with us and stepped up and gave donations, it was just incredible considering we’d never even been there before.”

On top of the people who share what cash they can or tap their credit cards while passing by a Christmas kettle, Burdick says there are those who drop larger donations each year.

“It’s not unusual to see people, at Christmas time, to drop a cheque in for $1000 and they’ll do it every year, so we do have regulars that really support the organization, and we really need them.”

With each kettle campaign being organized and managed by locals, funds from each campaign are also used locally, for Salvation Army programs and resources including food banks, food hampers, and camps throughout the year.

“This year we’ve had a 30 per cent increase for registrations for our Christmas hampers and Christmas toys. We’ve also had increases just in the amount of people that use our services. One of the things that strikes a chord with us, and a lot of people is the fact that 50 per cent of people who use our services are working people and working families who are struggling to pay the basics… If we can help people with food, it takes a little bit of the pressure off.” says Burdick.

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