The Kettle Appeal is a regular feature in our newscasts, and this year it is a tad early. The Salvation Army this morning launched the appeal hoping that generosity in 2011 will outdo previous years. Aside from BRAVO, the Salvation Army was joined this year by First Caribbean Bank. When we headed to Albert Street this morning, the traditional bells were ringing and the kettles were being filled. News Five’s Delahnie Bain has the following story.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

It’s just not Christmas in Belize City without the Salvation Army’s red kettles and bells, which are stationed at various stores for the annual Kettle Appeal. The fundraiser to give needy families a special holiday treat was launched this morning.

Major Brenda Grinage, Regional Commander, Salvation Army

Brenda Grinage

“The kettle appeal is basically a fundraising drive. The Salvation Army is always fundraising because it’s the only way that we can continue our social programs. But at Christmas the needs tend to be greater although need has no season. But people look forward to something special at Christmas time and we feel that through this drive the Salvation Army will be able to make people really feel that they have had a Christmas in respect of how it might be spent. 00:21:21 So it’s mainly a fundraising drive to put something extra special on the tables, to reach out to children to give them a toy or special dinner or something like that. We’re at nine locations; Brodies here on Albert Street, Hofius here, Augusto Quan, Angelus Press, Save-U, Brodies on the highway, Public’s on the Highway, the Tourist Village and K-Park.”

For years the launch has been held in front of Brodies on Albert Street, but today it was moved to the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank in recognition of a newly formed partnership.

Glen Smith, Country Manager, CIBC FirstCaribbean

“The Salvation Army came to us with a proposal, which we discussed and after discussing it and working out the kinks, the concept was something that we could support very readily and so this is the conclusion of about one or two months worth of work.”

Delahnie Bain

“How much are you all contributing to this kettle appeal?”

Glen Smith

Glen Smith

“Today we contributed a total of fifteen thousand and we’ll be working on several projects during the course of the next twelve months.”

Major Brenda Grinage

“We’ve already got from CIBC fifteen thousand dollars and that will go a long way in assisting not only with our Christmas social work, but also throughout the year because as I said earlier, need has no season and after Christmas need still exists. So that partnership will of course bring a lot of mileage out of CIBC in what they do and the Salvation Army in what we do.”

The banks country manager, Glen Smith, says the contribution is a part of their efforts to give back to the community.

Glen Smith

“We see ourselves not just as a business, but also a business that carries and takes very seriously our corporate social responsibility and as you know, we have our flagship Unsung Heroes program that goes, but as an organization we set aside a percentage of our net profits each year to support community based projects such as these and this falls under that umbrella so we try to give back to the society and the community, which ensures that we operate profitably.”

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army has another partner that is at the helm of its second Christmas initiative.

Major Brenda Grinage

“We’ve got Bravo Motors that spearheads our toy drive for us. They have already put the barrels out at various locations and so they will be the ones who will actually be handling that. On the fifteenth of December, we need to have at least seven hundred toys for the schools because we have a dinner for children at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. So by the fifteenth of December we need to have at least seven hundred toys. On the sixteenth, we must have another three hundred and then thereafter we will go out into the communities as far as—we’ll go into San Ignacio, Maskall, Orange Walk, Corozal to continue our distribution.”

The Kettle Appeal ends on Christmas Eve, but the agreement between CIBC FirstCaribbean and the Salvation Army is renewable for another three years. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Channel 5