The traditional image of the holiday season is filled with joy and happiness while families are exchanging gifts, enjoying meals and spending quality time together. The reality is many people are struggling with housing, food security and the ability to experience the Hallmark picture-perfect Christmas.
The Salvation Army’s iconic Christmas Kettle campaign plays a vital role in helping the most vulnerable year-round, and across the Greater Toronto Area, The Salvation Army’s mission partners are bringing smiles and ringing bells while volunteering their time accepting donations from generous donors.
Every dollar put into a kettle ensures The Salvation Army can deliver life-changing programs that provide dignity and a way out of poverty permanently for many who are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
Last year, The Salvation Army supported over 1.5 million individuals and families throughout Ontario, and nearly 850 households were supported through The Salvation Army Scarborough Citadel’s food bank while 362 households were new to the process of asking for help.
“We are seeing an increasing number of individuals and families coming to us for the first time for food because they are struggling to pay for housing and other necessities,” said Captain Johnny Valencia, corps officer of The Salvation Army Scarborough Citadel.
Across the Greater Toronto Area, The Salvation Army supported 413,000 individuals and families with food, clothing and practical assistance, and 1,260,000 meals were served at emergency shelters and in feeding programs in 2022.
For Lois, a senior who relies on The Salvation Army for groceries through an innovative mobile food program, Christmas kettle donations are critical because that means she has food in her refrigerator.
“The Salvation Army has saved me; this is a fantastic program – I love it.”
The Salvation Army Islington Seniors’ Shelter serves a unique demographic that most people think are enjoying their golden years relaxing at a lakefront Muskoka cottage.
But for many individuals 55 years and older, homelessness is a reality. In fact, 56 percent of the residents at The Salvation Army Islington Seniors’ Shelter are 65-plus. The need for emergency shelter is so great that the 37 female beds and 46 male beds are consistently full.
“Homelessness knows no age. Anyone at any moment during their life can be impacted by homelessness directly or indirectly. Roughly 50 percent of our residents are experiencing homelessness for the first time in their lives,” said Natasha Frechette, Director of The Salvation Army Islington Seniors’ Shelter.
When you see The Salvation Army’s iconic Christmas Kettles this holiday season, join their Army of Givers and be a transforming influence in your community by giving food, warmth and hope.
Donate online at SalvationArmy.ca or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
Written by: The Salvation Army Ontario Divisional Public Relations Department.