Kettle Campaign offers ‘the spirit of giving in difficult times’

·4 min read

What's become part of Woodstock's Christmas tradition, two prominent local couples met Thursday morning, Nov. 25, to kick off the 2021 Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign.

Majors Angel and Marlene Sandoval, Corps Officers of the Salvation Army's Woodstock Community Church, welcomed Mayor Art and Lynn Slipp to the Atlantic Superstore to help launch this year's campaign, which the Sandovals called "The Spirit of Giving Through Difficult Times Christmas Campaign 2021."

With COVID struggles for almost two years adding to the typical daily struggles of many people in the area, Angel Sandoval said the kettle campaign takes on even greater importance. He said they set a goal to raise $50,000 to be shared with families in need in Woodstock and surrounding communities.

Angel said last year's campaign fell a little short of its goal in the heart of the COVID-19 shutdown, but he hopes with more people on the move this year, they'll meet or surpass this year's target.

Marlene echoed Angel, noting the need is growing, and they expect the traditionally generous Carleton County people to contribute whatever they can.

"Our mission is to help anyone in need," she said.

Slipp said he and Lynn look forward to throwing their support behind the Christmas Kettle Campaign.

"I don't think I missed a year since becoming mayor," he said.

Slipp said he participates in the campaign launch each year because he believes it is essential to recognize the Salvation Army's crucial contributions to the community and the campaign's vital community support to those struggling through the Christmas season.

The Slipps remained at the Superstore to man the kettle for the rest of Thursday. Noting his busy schedule, Mayor Slipp said it was easier to block out a whole day to watch over one of the kettles than to find blocks of time over several days.

"I enjoy the time to socialize and catch up with people as they drop by," he said.

The Salvation Army will have the kettles on-site at five locations in Woodstock. In addition to the Superstore, they will set up kettles daily at Sobeys, Canadian Tire, Walmart and hopefully, if they can secure permission, the New Brunswick Liquor Store.

The Sandovals said those locations would host the kettles between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Nov. 25 through Dec. 16 and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Dec. 17 through Christmas Eve.

They said anyone who would have time to look after the kettle for a few hours or more during those days can add their names to the schedule by calling 328-8276.

Marlene expressed her appreciation to those who helped out during the kettle schedule over the years.

"Our volunteers are very, very dedicated people," she said.

Angel said businesses or individuals could add to the campaign's success by agreeing to match the amount raised by a kettle on a specific day. For example, he said, the Scotiabank already committed to matching collections up to $3,000 on Dec. 18.

The Sandovals said the campaign is always important. Still, this year, in many ways, seems particularly challenging as families face various problems, including the rising cost of food, rent and other necessities.

"Christmas is a time of excitement and joy," the Sandovals wrote in a letter distributed to area officials, business and others before the campaign kick-off. "It's the thrill of anticipation and comfort of spending time with those you love. Sadly, there are families who have no one to love and nothing to look forward to. Joy and excitement, crucial parts of families, just aren't a part of their lives."

Major Marlene said the Salvation Army offers support to the community all year, but Christmas is its busiest season.

She said the Woodstock Community Church not only offers financial and logistical support for those struggling within the community, it also offers spiritual support.

This season marks the sixth Christmas Kettle campaign for the Sandovals since arriving in Woodstock in November 2016. Coming from Italy, Marlene said, Woodstock offered a significant culture change. One which they have embraced.

"People are very friendly," she said. "The whole community is special."

The Sandovals feel at home in Woodstock.

Marlene said the couple sees Woodstock in their long-time plans, including a place to retire.

"This is going to be our home," she said.

Marlene expects that generous Carleton County community spirit she's grown to know will help fill the kettles this season again.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

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