Calgary

Salvation Army Kettle Campaign now takes debit and credit in Calgary

"I think it really is necessary, a lot of people don't carry cash, so it's just another opportunity, an option for people who want to make a donation right there in the malls as they're walking past," says executive director Karen Livick.

'A lot of people don't carry cash, so it's just another opportunity'

People can now use their debit or credit cards to donate to the Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign. (Anna McMillan/CBC)

The Salvation Army is taking a high-tech approach to raising funds in Calgary this year through its annual Kettle Campaign.

This year, kettles will accept debit and credit card donations as well as cash.

"I think it really is necessary, a lot of people don't carry cash, so it's just another opportunity, an option for people who want to make a donation right there in the malls as they're walking past," said executive director Karen Livick.

The annual effort kicked off last week with the goal of raising $1 million.

"We're just over $112,000 after the first week, which is a great start, and we're really looking to Calgarians to help us out and walk alongside us in the coming four weeks," said Livick.

Meeting that million-dollar goal will be tough without a few more volunteers, though.

"We have a lot of open shifts right now. We're only about 30 per cent full at the moment, so it's really important," said Livick.

"We can't raise the money if the if the kettles aren't out."

Volunteer shifts at the kettles last for three hours each.

"We have volunteers who come back year after year, we have families who come together, we have grandparents who bring their [grandkids]. It's a tradition for them."

Money raised goes toward Salvation Army programs throughout the year.

"First and foremost, at Christmas we're filling Christmas toy hampers for over 3,000 families — that's over 7,000 children," said Livick.

"Then throughout the year, providing numerous supports for families, whether it's in our education programs, sending kids to camp, a lot of our family programming and kids camps at our Family Resource Centre and emergency assistance.

"A lot of Calgarians are having a hard time throughout the year, so we walk alongside them with emergency foods and clothing vouchers as well."

Volunteers can register online.

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