© Diane Crocker
Major Loretta Fudge is seen with some of the toys that have been collected for distribution to families in need this Christmas.
CORNER BROOK — As the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season really sets in, it’s important to remember that, for some, providing a Christmas dinner for their family or gifts for their children can be a hardship.
“We realize we’re living in a time where there’s a lot of stress being put upon families for various reasons,” said Major Loretta Fudge, the community and family services director with the Salvation Army in Corner Brook.
“Christmas is a time that brings added stress to some families and our concern certainly is that on Christmas morning everyone would have the opportunity to have a bright and happy Christmas morning.”
Through kettle collections and toy donations, the Salvation Army helps provide that happy Christmas.
Fudge said this year alone the social services division will distribute about 600 food vouchers for a Christmas dinner and, with assistance from the Corner Brook Fire Department, close to 350 toy bags will be packed for distribution. It will all go to families in Corner Brook, Massey Drive and on the north and south shores of the Bay of Islands.
But like those families in need, the Salvation Army is also in need of help to make it all possible. As of Thursday, the organization was about “halfway there” to meeting its kettle goal of $68,000.
Fudge said it’s been a bit slow on the kettle collection, but she has an idea why.
“We have had a little bit less time out this year to previous years and that was because of trying to get a good volunteer base to man the number of hours that we needed.”
She figures the collection on the kettles will increase over the next week.
“I am confident that the community will draw alongside of us to reach our targeted goal,” she said. “It’s known that in the last week that people tend to bump up the giving a little bit because people probably tend to be more in the Christmas feel, but normally we’re a little bit ahead to where we are right now.”
The Salvation Army has kettles in seven locations around the city and Fudge said all seven will be out until Dec. 21. Then on Christmas Eve there will be three kettles out for part of the day.
“We could still use a few more volunteers,” she said, and encouraged anyone with some time to spare to call the Social Services Centre at 639-8632.
The kettles are not the only area where donations are down, as the Salvation Army is still in need of toys.
“We’ll actually begin the toy packing in a couple of days, so until we start that we really don’t get a good handle on it,” said Fudge. “But we’d still encourage people to think about the gift as well and to think about making a donation at the Gingerbread House in the Valley Mall or dropping something off here to the centre on Herald Avenue.”
Fudge said a shortfall of toys for teenagers is also common this time of year.