A familiar Christmas season sight is coming to a store or institution near you. The 2018 Belleville Salvation Army Christmas kettle campaign kicked off Wednesday at Army supporter Belleville Nissan.
While last year’s campaign raised a record $200,000 the Director of Belleville Ministries Abby Mills says every dollar of that total will be needed as demand for the Army’s services keeps getting greater.
In response to the increasing number of people receiving a helping hand from the Salvation Army, this year’s campaign goal will be $200,000.
Mills says just five years ago the usual attendance in the lunchroom of their downtown Belleville location averaged around 125 people.
But in recent weeks, around 200 people have been showing up for lunch and on one recent weekday over 250 lunches were served.
Meanwhile, the demand for warm suppers during the winter has skyrocketed over the past five years as well.
In 2013/14 the Belleville Salvation Army served 5,600 warm meals. Last year the number of people enjoying a good meal more than doubled to 11,600.
Mills stressed that the community never failed to answer the bell when called upon to help fellow citizens less well off than they. “I’m confident that our community will pull through again and help us to continue to be able to help people here.”
The Salvation Army’s Warm Room, which includes a hot meal, opens Thursday at 6 p.m. at the downtown Pinnacle Street location. Suppers will be served seven days a week through to March 15.
Meanwhile, the Coats for Folks program continues for the month of November. So far over 200 winter coats have been given out to the needy along with 450 other winter clothing accessories.
Each Thursday until the end of this month, coats and other items can be picked up from 1 until 3 in the afternoon at the Salvation Army church at Bridge Street West and Palmer Road.
Belleville Nissan says it will match, dollar for dollar, any donation made at its dealership location until the end of the campaign.