Gary Stewart says he’s glad to help a cause that is important at this time of year,
Stewart chairs the Nova Scotia Highlanders Association, Pictou Chapter. He also serves on the community advisory board for the Construction Engineering Flight (CEF) 144 Pictou.
He says he’s honoured to represent the groups while volunteering to stand beside a kettle during the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign.
“They’re the greatest army in the world,” he said. “There are armies that keep us safe, but the Salvation Army’s fight is a war against poverty.”
Stewart says he can’t count how many years he’s volunteered to stand with a red kettle, but he’s made a point for the past several years of standing with the red kettle located at the Aberdeen Sobeys.
He limits his turns at the kettle to two hours at a time while the campaign continues toward its end this weekend.
“I come every other day — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” he said.
He noted one time recently that a former Pictou County resident who lives in Great Village and is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion drove to the store to take a turn beside the kettle.
Stewart said he can recall many occasions over the years that youngsters have appreciated how the Salvation Army has provided for them in times of need.
“I like it when the kids come and I can give them a candy cane as they’re coming by and they put change in the pot. It teaches them to give.”
Stewart says he sympathizes with the challenge the local Salvation Army faces to find enough volunteers for kettle duty.
Salvation Army spokesman Dion Durdle said the fact fewer people have volunteered this year has been felt.
“The generosity of the public is there but there haven’t been as many people,” he said. “That has an impact on what we’re able to raise.”
Salvation Army members and volunteers have long noted how donations rise when people are present at the kettles.
Gary Stewart stands beside the kettle he tends at the Aberdeen Sobeys during the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign. (Goodwin photo)