Jack Pennell is not a member of the Salvation Army officially, but he doesn't let that stand in the way of helping out the corps.
The 81-year-old Corner Brook man has been a dedicated volunteer for the Salvation Army's Christmas Kettle Campaign in the city since 2017.
He finds giving his time to the campaign a rewarding experience in more ways than one. Not only is he supporting a good cause, the interaction with the general public is just as fulfilling.
“You meet a nice few people here, have a chat with everybody,” he told The Western Star.
Most importantly, he believes it’s a program that helps people who really need it.
“You’re doing some good for somebody,” he said. “They do a lot of good work, I must say.”
Pennell became interested in volunteering after conversations with kettle coordinator Gerald Fifield.
“I said ‘I suppose you got lots of help’ and he said, ‘no, we’re looking for volunteers,'” he recalled. “I only had a few days left before Christmas, so I said, ‘I’ll give you a few days’ and I got hooked on it then.”
Last year, he began a commitment of volunteering for two hours almost every day during the Christmas season.
He rotates mostly between Walmart, Canadian Tire and the Valley Mall.
Pennell wishes now he had started volunteering long before he did.
“My biggest regret is that I never volunteered years ago, I wish I had more time to give to them,” he said. “But I say to the young people out there get out there because it’s a great cause.”
The Corner Brook Salvation Army uses the Christmas Kettle Campaign to raise money for families who are struggling during the holiday season.
It is still looking for more volunteers like Pennell.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help the Salvation Army reach its goal to raise $75,000 can contact kettle coordinator Gerald Fifield at (709) 216-0793.