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Christmas Kettle campaign kicks off

Christina Gray
Northern News Services
Published Friday, December 11, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The Salvation Army launched its annual Christmas Kettle campaign on Nov. 27, and the organization will receive help from a group of volunteer youths in their effort to reach a goal of $25,000.

NNSL photo/graphic

Mayor Gord Van Tighem, third from left, stopped by the downtown liquor store on the evening of Nov. 27 to help kick off this year's Salvation Army Christmas kettle campaign. Also on hand were Salvation Army representatives Maj. Jo Sobool, left, Maj. Dale Sobool, second from left, and Craig Thomas, as well as a handful of volunteers. - Christina Gray/NNSL photo

Eleven youths with Katimavik, a national volunteer program, are in Yellowknife for two months to assist non-profit organizations. Mayor Gord Van Tighem and representatives from the Salvation Army were outside the liquor store for the launch, ringing bells and reminding Yellowknifers to help those in need this holiday season.

Craig Thomas, The Salvation Army's kettle drive organizer, said all the money raised will go toward the Christmas hamper fund, which delivers Christmas dinners to those in need.

"In the whole Christmas program last year, 460 hampers were given out and that would equate to about 600 adults and 400 children," Thomas said, adding that the program raised $21,000 last year.

Van Tighem said one of the great things about this kettle drive is that it's not just about helping fellow Yellowknifers. With the help of Air Tindi and the Department of National Defence, Christmas hampers are sent out to eight other communities.

"It's Yellowknife generosity to the communities and there are some families that wouldn't have a Christmas dinner without this," Van Tighem said.

The Katimavik youths, who are between the ages of 17 and 21, were glad to be able to help others.

"I'm happy to help families have a better Christmas," said Melanie Poulin.

"I think it's really good to be able to help other people and it's a good feeling to do that," said Caitlin Roy.

After the kick-off, some Christmas carols and photographs with the mayor, the youths were left in charge of the kettle with instructions to wish people a merry Christmas and ring the bells. They said they would keep warm by dancing, jumping and singing.

As for their own Christmas plans, the Katimavik program requires the youth to stay in Yellowknife over the holidays. The group, who share a house together, said they are looking forward to celebrating Christmas with their new Katimavik family.

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