The Salvation Army yesterday launched its annual Christmas Appeal, which facilitates funding of the organisation’s programmes and activities throughout the year, including its drug rehabilitation programme.
The launching ceremony, held at the Georgetown Club, yesterday, marked the beginning of one of the traditions of the local Christmas season—‘kettling.’
Salvation Army volunteers can usually be found along pavements and at store entrances, sounding a bell, while appealing for donations from passers-by, which are accepted in an iconic red kettle.
“The funds raised from the donations at Christmas through the kettle provide direct compassion and hands-on service to thousands of people each year. These funds restore the hope and dignity of those who might otherwise remain invisible in our society. With your blessing, we look forward to the most rewarding campaign…,” Edward Boyer, the Chairman of the organisation’s Advisory Board, said in his address to the audience at the launch.
The function was chaired by popular stand-up comedian Kirk Jardine, well-known as “Chow Pow,” who is himself a testimony to the impact of drug rehabilitation, having been “clean” for nearly 20 years.
The first donation of the season was made by acting President Moses Nagamootoo, who was present for all of the ceremony, and delivered the feature address. The government in the past has made annual donations of $10 million to the Salvation Army. Nagamootoo related that the donation made yesterday was apart from that, and mentioned that provisions were also made in the budget for the organisation.
Donations were also made by members of the Private Sector Commission.
“…And so today, when we smell Christmas in the air; the rich, black, white, other colours of cake that we traditionally enjoy, and we can hear the Christmas bells jingling in our ears, we also wish to ask you to listen to the little tinkle in the ketty. The kettle needs your attention. It is not how much you give, but the spirit in which you give it that will make that kettle shine like an Aladdin lamp and it could light up the lives of so many in need…,” Nagamootoo stated, while also remarking that “little graces would go a long way” and “small mercies could be stretched.”
Nagamootoo stated that the act of giving should not be done selfishly and with only the thought of the distress that Guyanese are experiencing, but that consideration must also be given for the suffering being experienced by those around the world.
“…Think about those in Syria and Libya where there is a civil war…think about those in so many other countries, particularly on the continent of Africa, where many suffer terminal diseases from lack of attention and medical supplies, think about those 50 million children who face almost death on a daily basis from lack of food and attention and lack of medical supplies. So, we have a world that is asking us to invoke in ourselves the best of our humanity. Because it is only by giving that we will find ourselves and make ourselves better,” he stated.