AMHERST – It’s midway through the Salvation Army’s kettle campaign and Captain Chad Ingram is multi-tasking.
© Christopher Gooding photo
Salvation Army Captain Chad Ingram catches his breath at the Atlantic Superstore kettle in Amherst after a busy shift of coordinating shifts and thanking donors.
Thanking and waving to donors at the Atlantic Superstore with one hand, he juggles a call to his cellphone with the other, pen lodged in between his fingers, as he searches his pocket for another business card to write another note on.
“I’m filling in more shifts than I would like,” he said. “I like to put myself on a few times a week so I’m doing my part, but I would rather do shifts I record than fill in.”
This isn’t unusual for Ingram and the kettle volunteers when December rolls around. Every day Christmas gets closer more volunteers understandably get busier, Ingram said.
“To date, volunteers have been a little better than last year but I do foresee openings in the near future,” Ingram said. “They have their own shopping to do, family gatherings, some get sick.”
In the next few weeks, a strong volunteer base is going to be one of the keys to the Salvation Army making its local goal of raising $40,000, which will be redistributed throughout Cumberland County to those in need. It’s the same goal the church set last year, but this year it’s been difficult.
“I checked this morning, so up until today, we’re down about $1,000 from where we were this time last year,” Ingram said. “I’m trying not to get alarmed, but the next few weeks will be the home-stretch. If the trend continues I could be worried. We make about two-thirds of our funds in the last two weeks of Christmas.”
All the funds raised in the local area and redistributed to the local area during the Christmas season and throughout the year. In can be in the form of heating assistance, food, toys and much more. Ingram acknowledges with downturns in the local economy, some of last year’s donors could be on the brink of needing assistance themselves this year, resulting in the drop in donations but hopes those who can give will continue to be generous or find the time to take on a shift at a kettle in their community. It’s a nice way to spread Christmas cheer while supporting a good cause, he says.
“Sometimes we can arrange transportation for volunteers,” Ingram said. “I know that’s happening in Springhill, and in some cases we might be able to make that happen here [in Amherst].”
And people can donate online, too, by going to www.fillthekettle.com and searching for the Amherst kettle, which represents all of Cumberland County donations.
A number of groups and organizations, including local Lions Clubs and the Amherst Police, have stepped up this year to take shifts with the kettle campaign, and anyone looking to become part of the annual fundraiser can contact the Salvation Army at 902-597-3954.