Salvation Army kettle campaign allowed back at BC Liquor Stores, branch says in reversal


The familiar sound of jingling will be heard once again in front of BC Liquor Stores following the reversal of a controversial decision prohibiting the well-known Salvation Army kettle campaign from storefronts this holiday season.

On Friday, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch explained that due to two fundraising campaigns already approved to station themselves outside of BC Liquor Stores, the Salvation Army’s kettle campaign application for this holiday season, which came in after the other two, was denied.

“To ensure we don’t overwhelm our customers with donation campaigns when they visit our stores, we are not approving any other fundraising activities at our stores throughout the holiday period, while our Food Banks BC or Share-a-Bear campaigns are running,” the LDB said at the time.

Salvation Army spokespeople called the decision disappointing as it had been campaigning in front of government-run liquor stores for a number of years, adding that it comes during a particularly tough Christmas season for low-income people who rely on the organization for help.

The issue then turned into a political one, with the BC Green Party and BC Liberals appealing to Finance Minister Selina Robinson to intervene.

Liberal MLA Peter Milobar called it “completely ridiculous,” saying that the LDB’s decision was “very Scrooge-like, Grinch-like, whatever Christmas analogy you’d like to use” and that Robinson should reverse it.

Green MLA Adam Olsen said he was “shocked” that the familiar red kettles wouldn’t be allowed in front of BC Liquor Stores, where many British Columbians expect to see them.

Then, before Robinson was set to speak to media, presumably about the decision, the branch announced it had changed course and would allow the campaign to go ahead at its stores.
“Due to the potential for short-notice hardship on The Salvation Army’s holiday-timed fundraising efforts, we have decided to allow the Kettle Campaign to proceed outside BCLIQUOR (BCL) stores,” the LDB said in a statement.

It reiterated the reasoning of the initial decision, saying it was concerned the food bank campaign could suffer with too many organizations competing for donations.

“It is also worth noting that 15 per cent of Food Banks BC members are represented by The Salvation Army. This means that, in a number of communities, donations to Food Banks BC directly support The Salvation Army,” the branch said.

The Salvation Army said it hopes to raise $22 million nation-wide this Christmas with the kettle campaign, which is the non-profit’s largest fundraiser of the year supporting approximately 2.6 million vulnerable Canadians.

With files from CHEK’s Rob Shaw.


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