By ROSALYN ROY
PORT AUX BASQUES – Lt. Maurice Collins of the Salvation Army cannot heap enough praise on the residents and businesses of the Southwest Coast for their generosity over the Christmas holidays.
“We were anticipating to be down but we were actually up,” said Collins. “It’s so positive. They are such generous people, giving people and want to help out their neighbours. I am just blown away by the support.”
Support also came from community partners, local churches and area businesses who raised money in-house and then donated cheques, or even large items such as freezers to help out with food storage. Donations typically drop after the holiday season, but Collins hopes that level of support will enable the Salvation Army to continue assisting families around the region.
“It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. It’s hard to know what the need is going to be, but all indications show that the need is going to be up. We have been planning for that, but until you get into it you don’t know what the need is actually going to be,” he admitted. “I’m sure there will be difficult days ahead, but I’m sure we’ll be able to weather the storm no problem at all.”
Collins estimates that donations went up by roughly 20 percent, which is no small feat during a global pandemic. Feeding families was a bit costlier this year, and not just because food prices are up. Instead of the usual food baskets, the Salvation Army handed out gift cards.
“The cost of the gift cards were higher,” noted Collins. “But through the generosity of people in this area we met the need.”
The province is also kicking in $5000 so that the Salvation Army can purchase new equipment “to assist with the provision of Emergency Services”. Collins posted a letter announcing the donation of behalf of the Department of Justice and Public Safety to Facebook on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
“Thank you to Andrew Parsons for coordinating this grant from the government to enhance The Salvation Army’s work on the Southwest Coast. Thank you to Steve Crocker for making it happen,” wrote Collins.