Jingling bells will once again be heard in front of liquor stores across the province, as the BC Liquor Distribution Branch has reversed an earlier decision that was blocking the Salvation Army kettle campaign from the front of their stores.
“Due to the potential for short-notice hardship on The Salvation Army’s holiday-timed fundraising efforts, we have decided to allow the kettle campaign to proceed outside BC Liquor (BCL) stores,” said a press release from LDB.
“We have welcomed The Salvation Army kettle campaign outside BCL for many years.”
Stuart Richardson, a retired school principal who is the Christmas kettle coordinator for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, was one of the Salvation Army staffers who voiced their disappointment at being blocked from the stores last week.
Monday afternoon, learning of the LDB’s change of heart was like an early Christmas present for him.
“That’s fantastic. I think that’s really great,” said Richardson. “I really appreciate they’ve changed their minds.”
The LDB said its decision to limit fundraising efforts had been made because there were two other donation campaigns underway in their stores – Food Banks BC and Share-a-Bear. They did not want to overwhelm customers.
BCL is running an in-store fundraising campaign in support of Food Banks BC throughout the holiday period. A concern was the Food Bank campaign would suffer if people had already made a donation to the kettle campaign outside of stores. To date, the LDB has raised more than $2.75 million in support of food banks throughout B.C. since beginning its partnership with Food Banks BC in April 2020, said the release.
“Having said that, recognizing the short-notice, we do not want to create hardship for The Salvation Army and will welcome them outside BCL stores this holiday season,” said the press release.
Richardson said he’s going to need more bellringers doing two-hour volunteer shifts. Last year, the kettle campaign in Ridge Meadows raised $138,000, and this year the goal is $200,000, due to the increased need.
“We’ll be close,” said Richardson of meeting that goal.
But he will need more volunteers, and they can call him at 604-838-9813 or email RMKettles@salvationarmy.ca
The kettle campaign is synonymous with charitable giving, has been running for more than a century across North America, and were first seen in Canada in 1903, in Toronto.
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