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Salvation Army Christmas kettles go high-tech across Ontario

Many Salvation Army kettles now offer those looking to help the option to use a credit or debit card to donate. Andrew Cromwell/Global News

For more than 100 years, Canadians have thrown money into Salvation Army’s Christmas kettles to help the less fortunate during the holiday season.

With many no longer carrying cash, though, the agency has been forced to change the way the program operates and is offering different options for those who are looking to fill the kettle.

Last year, the Salvation Army tested out debit and credit machines in some select markets across the province, including London, Hamilton and Toronto.

READ MORE: Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettle Campaign returns to London

“We actually brought them out because people told us they don’t carry cash anymore, so they wanted a different way to give,” explained Salvation Army spokesperson Danny Miller.

“Millennials wanted us to try and do debit machines. So [we] brought them last year as the trial and it was successful on what we had out there in a very small market.”
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Millar said the test run was a success, which prompted wider use of the machines in Ontario.

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Salvation Army pulling kettles from Liquor Marts in response to thefts, violence – Nov 21, 2019

He said there are about 500 kettles across the province, with around 125 being equipped with tap machines.

Those that wish to give can also scan a barcode at the kettles which will bring them to fillthekettle.com, where they can also make a donation.

Millar says that money donated in this fashion “stays in the local area by postal code.”

The card tap is not the only modern method that the Salvation Army is using to raise funds for the less fortunate.

READ MORE: ‘Having to reach out a difficult thing’: Kelowna Salvation Army on Christmas assistance

Millar said people can also create their own kettles on fillthekettle.com.

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“You can sign up by your address to host a kettle and you can set a target [that says I want to have] $1,000,” he explained.
”Then you send out emails to all your friends and ask them to donate [to] your virtual kettle.”

The kettles have been around so long that many may forget why they are there.

“The kettles are specifically for the community and family services to provide that Christmas that somebody less fortunate would not be able to have, if we weren’t there to provide it for them,” Millar said.

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