Compassion is always on the minds of the hardy souls who volunteer to man Salvation Army kettles during the holiday season – and they’re seeing the same trait in their donors.
Despite a spate of bad news surrounding the Salvation Army to start the 2012 campaign, people donating at various kettle locations in Brockville on Wednesday had full faith that the funds are going to help their community and their neighbours.
They do, assured Salvation Army kettle coordinator Hannah Cody.
"I think its important to remember all the money that is raised in this area stays right in this area and does go to help those in need," said Cody.
The local campaign is behind its goal so far this year compared to last; as of Monday, the Salvation Army was at approximately $30,000 of its $75,000 target.
But Cody said it was difficult to gauge if recent news that a former Salvation Army executive in Toronto had been arrested and charged in connection with the theft of $2-million worth of toys from the organization had affected donations here.
Volunteers are confident the community was contributing as usual and that donors are convinced that, as one recent letter writer to the Recorder and Times put it, locals weren’t willing to "let one bad apple spoil the bunch."
"I think the people have been quite generous," said John Thompson, as he handed off his kettle monitoring duties to Tim Blake at the new LCBO location on Parkedale Avenue Wednesday afternoon. "They might walk by going in but many of them stop going out."
Compassion was evident inside the LCBO store as well, where management allowed the kettle monitors to move inside the lobby when a bitter wind and dropping temperature made work outdoors uncomfortable.
"The staff here deserve a lot credit," said Thompson. “They've always been supportive."
The same was true at another kettle location at Canadian Tire, where Corinne Cipra arrived dressed to brave the elements and found herself inside the entrance lobby.
"It's a good cause and the money does stay locally," said Cipra, shortly before picking up her kettle stand and moving outdoors, where many volunteers prefer to stand.
Cipra was beginning her first shift but had volunteered to work every day she had a day off before Christmas, which would give her up to 20 hours at the kettle.
"It's a good way to see people," she said.
If the kettles are a little lighter than usual so far, Thompson is confident the campaign will still prove to be another success.
"I think it always picks up more closer to Christmas," said Thompson. "It's certainly not bad (now)."
"It's understandable, a lot of things are running behind fundraising-wise this year," added Cody.
"We're still working hard to get toward our goal," she said. "I think everyone is pleased with how we are doing.
Salvation Army kettle campaign has a target of $75,000 this year. The organization has a group of volunteers numbering more than 100 people that will be manning kettles at several locations in Brockville.
• Great Canadian Superstore;
• LCBO - Parkedale Ave.;
• Walmart (two kettles);
• Thousand Islands Mall;
• Giant Tiger.