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  • Dec21Wed

    Spirit of Christmas Spreads in Bermuda

    Bermudians help The Salvation Army with its Christmas assistance December 21, 2011 by Julia Hosking
    Filed Under:
    Territorial News
    While many children excitedly count down the sleeps until December 25, there are individuals and families relying on The Salvation Army to help them with their Christmas cheer. The Canada and Bermuda Territory has seen another increase in demand for food and toy assistance this year and the Army is again reliant on the generous support of businesses and members of the public to meet its fundraising goals.

    “For the third straight year, The Salvation Army has assisted more and more families during Christmas,” says Major Shawn Critch, divisional commander, Bermuda Division. “Over the past 12 months we have seen 275 new individuals come to us for assistance. We are working hard to achieve our $1 million fundraising campaign target—the highest in our history. Everything is pointing in the right direction and I feel optimistic that we will reach this goal. We continue to build partnerships with like-agencies and the corporate community to make this possible.”

    Bermuda is not only struggling with unemployment rates and economic challenges similarly facing the rest of the world, but some individuals are being placed on reduced work schedules as the costs of living constantly rise. Recognizing these circumstances, the Bermuda business community is getting behind The Salvation Army this Christmas.

    “A $20,000 gift from Capital G Bank allowed us to fund the annual Christmas dinner for the homeless and those struggling as a result of the current economic situation facing Bermuda,” says Major Critch. “We were also able to provide a small Christmas gift to each person. The remaining portion of Capital G's donation is being used to offset the cost of assisting 3,100 individuals this year with a Christmas dinner, extra groceries and toys.”

    Employees from the Bermuda Monetary Authority spurred on their Christmas spirit through an internal contest that involved creating Christmas hampers containing food, special treats and toys for families in need.

    “It is obvious that staff at the Bermuda Monetary Authority took a lot of pride in the preparation and presentation of the 12 hampers,” says Major Wayne Loveless, executive director, community services, Bermuda Division. “It will certainly make the receiving families feel special this Christmas.”

    Two other significant contributions to The Salvation Army's campaign came through the Bank of Bermuda Foundation and the HSBC Board of Directors, Management and Staff. In lieu of Christmas activities, the two corporations donated $40,000 and $10,000, respectively.

    “I am grateful for the social consciousness and community commitment of partners like HSBC and the Bank of Bermuda Foundation,” says Major Critch. “The Salvation Army is appreciative of the generosity and confidence expressed in its mission by the corporate community. Such financial partnerships represent a critical component of our sustainable funding in support of our mission. There will be many individuals and families who will benefit from this corporate donation.”

    Making A Difference

    Meanwhile, 100 employees from KPMG in Bermuda participated in a 'Make a Difference Day' for The Salvation Army. They worked on projects at The Salvation Army Hamilton Harbour Light facility, painting the kitchen and thrift store, and providing new tables and shelving for the food program.

    The employees also decorated the Botanical Gardens location where The Salvation Army prepares food and toys for distribution to individuals and families.

    “The new racks and tables will enhance the overall appearance,” comments Major Loveless. “And the help in getting the building at the Botanical Gardens ready for our Christmas Assistance Program was very much appreciated.”

    In addition to receiving donations and support from the business community, Salvation Army bands serenade the public as part of the Army's Christmas fundraising efforts. On Friday, December 16, Bermuda's divisional band gave its annual performance in downtown Hamilton, playing for the retail community.

    “This year, we concluded the serenading by visiting the Emergency Housing Complex and sharing the music of Christmas with residents at the shelter that is operated by The Salvation Army,” says Major Critch. “The weather was beautiful. Some of the shoppers sang along with the band and the message of Christmas was shared with hundreds of people throughout the evening.”

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