“We are below our target,” says Captain Deb VanderHeyden, “however we haven’t given up hope that we’ll be able to reach our goal within this week.” 

Red kettles have been set up in several locations around the city since November, including Walmart, PriceSmart, Sobeys, Canadian Tire and Safeway. Donations are accepted up until the first few days of January. 

The money raised will go towards the operation of the Salvation Army shelter, its community lunch program, the food bank, and Christmas hampers. This year 200 hampers were prepared with the help of other campaigns like Toys for Tickets, which raised dozens of toys and $60 from unpaid parking tickets as well as the Troyer Toy Drive and several food drives like the Huskies Fill the Bus.

“We are truly grateful for the support because it’s community food bank, it’s community hamper program, so it’s the people of Fort St. John looking after the people in FortSt. John that need the help, so it’s amazing. We’re just the middle man.” 

VanderHeyden says the food bank has never had as much food as this year, much of which will go towards serving 150 to 200 people on Christmas Day. Corporate sponsorship also means each dinner guest will be receiving a gift with their meal. Volunteers are always needed at the dinner, especially for clean up after 2 p.m.