Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers in Smiths Falls, Perth, Carleton Place, Almonte and Merrickville, the Salvation Army’s 2016 Kettle Campaign raised a total of $244,510 to help the needy throughout the region.
Fundraising results were down slightly from the previous year, when $251,166 was collected.
The kettle campaign kicked off on Nov. 18 and ran for 22 days at six locations in Smiths Falls, five in Perth, four in Carleton Place and one in Merrickville.
“Without volunteers it would not be possible,” said Heddy Sorour, who ran the Smiths Falls campaign this year, explaining that the Salvation Army has only five paid staff to serve the region from Sharbot Lake to Merrickville. “The Salvation Army has some of the best volunteers ever.”
The funds collected are used to help the less fortunate in a number of ways. The Salvation Army helps tenants whose rent is in arrears to avoid eviction, and can assist with the cost of fuel. Relocation and temporary housing may be provided for victims of fires or floods.
The church also runs an emergency food bank, provides Christmas hampers, runs an angel tree campaign to collect toys, and operates thrift stores in Smiths Falls and Perth. The Salvation Army also operates summer camps for needy children at Jackson Point on Lake Simcoe, and at Skeleton Lake in Muskoka. Thirty-seven children attended these camps last year.
At an awards ceremony on Jan. 30 at the Smiths Falls church, the Salvation Army recognized the top 2016 fundraisers in several categories. The winning youth group – and the only group in the youth category – were the Smiths Falls Bears, who collected $684.75 for the cause.
The top performers in the emergency services category were the Carleton Place Fire Department, raising $707.03.
The trophy for best performance by a service club went to the Perth Lions, who raised $1,887.04. The Smiths Falls Lions placed a very close second.
The Mayor’s Challenge pitted the mayors of the local municipalities against each other to see who could collect the most donations to the Kettle Campaign. Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow was once again victorious, collecting $1,169.61.