Salvation Army hands out record number of Christmas hampers

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Nancy MacPhee
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Donations to Kettle Campaign on par with last year

SUMMERSIDE — Close to 500 hampers were handed out to area families in need by the Summerside Salvation Army this holiday season.

Volunteers Riley Gallant, Jason Coulson, Donna Bell and Dean Cormier prepare to take the last of 165 Kin Family Christmas hampers to their destinations.

Community and family services co-ordinator Karen Mallett said that the Salvation Army, with the help of various organizations throughout Prince County and countless individuals, gave out 473 hampers.

“We did 373 for the Summerside area, but then we also had an extra 100 that we did that included western Prince Edward Island,” said Mallett. “We gave names to the St. Eleanors Lions Club, the Kensington Lions and the Kin Family in Summerside.”

That number is less than the more than 600 hampers, each of which includes all the fixings for a Christmas dinner and a few extras, that were handed out in 2011.

By late November, the Salvation Army had received more than 300 applications from those seeking help out at Christmas.

“When people would come in they were saying it was a hard time, they were waiting for their EI, which is the reason they give a lot of the time,” said Mallett. “I found that we did have a lot of first-time people using it that hadn’t used it before or didn’t know how to go about getting it. We had our regulars but I found we did have a lot of new faces this year.”

She said without the help of the community the Salvation Army wouldn’t be able to those in Prince County who are in need throughout the year. But, she added, the willingness to help seems to be greater during the Christmas season.

“The Canada Revenue Agency, they went above and beyond. They are phenomenal to us. They supplied all the apples and the oranges. Plus they take X amount of names for us. They do fundraising all the time for us,” said Mallett. “We had a couple of people that called and said their daughters weren’t going to be home this year for Christmas and they weren’t going to be as extravagant as if they were going to be home so they wanted to give this for this child.

“A lot of people said they were empty nesters and they just wanted to help out in any way that they could. A lot said they had used the services in the past and were in a position now that they could help out.”

Donations to the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign were on par with previous years. Mallett didn’t have the final tally for this holiday, but in previous years the kettles brought in about $55,000, money used to fund the Salvation Army’s programs.

 

nmacphee@journalpioneer.com

 

 

 

Organizations: Salvation Army, Eleanors Lions Club, Canada Revenue Agency

Geographic location: Prince, Summerside, Prince Edward Island

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