Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
The annual Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Appeal was launched on Tuesday at the Scotia Centre, downtown Kingston, with the aim of raising $12 million through donations.
Scotiabank led the way with a contribution of $2 million dollars to inspire others to give to the worthy cause. Scotiabank is actively part of every aspect of Jamaican life, through its staff, shareholders and clients.
The Kettle Appeal will see scores of the Salvation Army volunteer corps positioned with kettles outside the doors of Scotiabank branches, as well as supermarkets, clothing stores and many other business entities, to receive donations on behalf of the thousands of people it serves during the holidays.
According to Bruce Bowen, president and chief executive officer of Scotiabank, the organisation gives because it believes in the work of the Salvation Army and is confident in the practical ways they can make a difference in people's lives.
"This is our 11th year of hosting the Salvation Army of volunteers who faithfully man the doors of branches ringing their bells which have become a very powerful signal of the spirit of the season," Bowen said.
"The distinctive call of the bell soothingly reminds us that Christmas is here, but it also challenges us to acknowledge that, while some may have the blessing of enjoying food, fellowship, family and fun, there are many whose only wish is to be meaningfully remembered and purposefully considered this holiday," he added.
One million dollars of the Scotiabank donations have been earmarked for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort, to purchase mattresses and other supplies for the dislocated families, $700,000 to the Eastern Division Kettle Appeal and $300,000 to the Western Division Kettle Appeal.
The volunteers will be easily recognisable by their uniform, and the donations received by the Salvation Army go towards assisting more than 10,000 families, the elderly shut-ins, and the homeless.
"We give because we believe in the work of the Salvation Army. We appeal to you to join again this year to give generously and give confidently, knowing that this is one of the ways you can play your part in advancing the welfare of your fellow citizens," Bowen said.
The Salvation Army has been in Jamaica for 125 years and the kettle tradition is recognised worldwide.