Kathleen Gaitt was one of the bell ringers who hit the streets in 2014.

Help staff the red kettles in Langley this holiday season

The Salvation Army campaign is in need of local volunteers for the annual charity campaign.

The Salvation Army Gateway of Hope hopes to build upon the increasing use of technology for the annual fundraising kettle campaign this Christmas.

Four kettle sites will have secure iPads so people can donate electronically.

“There’s definitely a component of the community that appreciates using those,” said Troy Gaglardi, the Gateway director of community resources.

The kettle campaign runs Nov. 10 to Dec. 24.

The kettles are a key source of fundraising for Gateway’s work.

IPads will be available for credit card donations at WalMart, Willowbrook Shopping Centre, Otter Coop and the Signature BC Liquor Store in Willowbrook. Gaglardi said they would like to obtain more iPads to allow them to be at more locations. Receipts are emailed.

About 500 kettle volunteers are needed for the more than 3,000 shifts this holiday season at 20 locations. A shift is two hours. People can do more if they are able.

Gaglardi said the feedback received from the public is that they see the kettles as a symbol of the spirit of the season.

“What I’m hearing more and more often is that people are pleased to hear the Christmas bells ringing and see the Salvation Army shield out in the community,” he said, “and it’s a reminder to reach out and help others.”

Gaglardi said people will often comment when donating that they appreciate the Salvation Army help received by a family member or a friend.

Gateway has a volunteer orientation at 6:15 p.m. on Nov. 10 and another planned for Dec. 1 for the kettle campaign. He added that there’s also volunteer opportunities for things such as drivers to ferry kettles to and from sites and other behind-the-scenes tasks.

Gateway will continue its program with the Stepping Stone Society which has clients staff kettles to help them gain certain social experience.

And schools can contact Gateway about student placements.

Gaglardi said secondary students must volunteer at kettles with other people, never alone and anyone younger than high school age can volunteer if accompanied by a parent.

Volunteer applications are available online at gatewayofhope.ca or at the shelter, 5787 Langley Bypass, beside Kwantlen Polytechnic University. For information, call 604-514-7375.

Another growing holiday effort for the shelter is Christmas hampers.

“Last year we did about 550 food hampers,” Gaglardi said.

Gateway is accepting donations of certain foods for holiday hampers. The Christian Life Assembly has said it will be a drop-off point and other churches are welcome to take part.

Details on how to apply for food hampers will be announced closer to Christmas.

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