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Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign steps into the 21st century

Kim Elaschuk
News Editor

Christmas can send people into the red with piling bank fees from withdrawing the green. Now, a holiday staple is trying out a new technological makeover to make one part of the season a little bit more convenient.

It’s not quite Christmas until the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign volunteers start appearing on corners and in malls, ringing their trademark jingle bells. Recently though, the tradition has run into a new problem.

“People in Regina are ever so generous to the Salvation Army,” said Captain Steven Cameron. “As time goes on, though, less and less people actually carry any cash.”

Cameron is in charge of the Kettle Campaign this year, and is bringing it into the digital age.

“Every year a number of people have come up to us and said ‘we’d love to make a donation but we have is plastic. Do you have any way to do this?’ Up to this year we have not.”

That’s because this year the Salvation Army will be equipping the station at the South Albert Liquor Store with a portable debit machine. Now, the charitable organization will be able to accept debit, Visa, and Mastercard.

Cameron hopes this new convenience will inspire more passersby to donate this year.

In 2009, the Salvation Army earned $115,000, and they’re aiming to beat that this year by another $5,000. The money collected in the trademark red bubble kettle goes not only to supporting their seasonal events, but also to year-round programs like sending low-income kids to camp, inner city music programs, and free job training.

Unlike other debit machines, the user doesn’t have to worry about the typical dollar-fifty transaction hidden fee. Instead, 0.05 per cent will be garnished off the total donated amount. So, if someone donates 20 dollars, one penny of that will go to the bank. This is possible because all of the money donated goes straight to the charity, not the Salvation Army employees.

“None of the donation is going for any overhead or any administration. It goes straight to helping those in need in Regina,” Cameron explained.

Some things are sacred, though. Those worried about the beloved Kettle Campaign changing too fast need not fret.

“It looks exactly the same. There’ll be the kettle. The red stand with the plastic bubble on it,” Cameron said.

The only difference is now it’ll have a small sign saying “Interac available.”

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