By Mike Anderson

Seventy-four-year-old Ted Irvine and his wife, Joan, 69, look forward to manning the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle at Zehrs in Keswick.

After all, they’ve been doing it for the past 15 years, often six days a week, sometimes for four hours at a time.

“I enjoy volunteering,” Ted said. “I like to help people out.”

“It’s fun; you get to meet a lot of people,” said Joan, who is a strong supporter of the Salvation Army.

“They helped me out many, many years ago. And this is payback for me,” she said.

Sometimes when the Kettle is a little low, Joan admits she puts her own money in.

And if a friend or relative drops by, they’re encouraged to donate too.

“They can’t walk by; We make them put money in,” she laughs.

Lt. R. David Hipperson and Lauri Cunningham at Christmas Kettle Kick-off

According to Lt. R. David Hipperson, core officer and pastor at the Georgina Community Church, all the funds raised during the Christmas Kettle Campaign, which runs from November 18 to December 24, will stay in Georgina.

“Every dollar that is raised goes back into the community. No money is getting diverted to help run our church,” he said.

Hipperson says the donations support the church’s Family Services program, which provides an emergency food bank that serves about 70 clients a month, as well as help with housing, employment and addiction counselling.

According to Hipperson, the campaign is needed more than ever, as many people are struggling during this period of high inflation.

“Food costs are stretching family budgets,” he said.

“There’s a lot of invisible poverty. People can afford their homes. They can afford their cars because they need them to get to work. But then when they get home, there’s not a lot in the cupboard.”

“We can’t give all they that they need. But we can help lessen the burden.”

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettles are in six locations across Georgina, including Walmart, Zehrs, FrescCo and Canadian Tire in Keswick, and Sobeys and No Frills in Sutton. There are also tap machines set up at the Pefferlaw LCBO, Stretch Thrift stores, and Quick Pizza in Keswick.

While you can find Ted and Joan at Zehrs or Walmart most days, Hipperson says they still urgently need more volunteers to staff the Kettles.

If you’d like to volunteer for a 2-hour shift, please contact Lauri Cunningham, Kettle Coordinator at Georgina Community Church. Tel: 905-955-9151. Email: laurel.cunningham@salvationarmy.ca

To learn more about the support the Salvation Army provides, contact the Family Services office and ask for Dave Jackson at 905-722-4613.

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