• By: Tyler Burch

The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign Help Transform Lives in Our Community

The Salvation Army has the same mission today as in 1865 – To share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world.

At a time when people are starting their retirement, Liem, at the age of 67 suddenly found himself homeless and alone with no place to go.

Born in Vietnam in 1955 Liem moved to Canada in 1984. In 1994, he married his wife in his homeland, and eight years later, she joined him in Canada. They built a life here raising three successful children. In his early years, Liem worked in manual labour, but when he turned 60, he became unemployed because he couldn’t keep up with younger workers. He tried for years to find work, with no luck.

During this time, his marriage fell apart and he had no place to go, so he stayed with a friend for a few days. However, due to Covid, he was once again homeless. With nowhere to go, he found himself at The Salvation Army Ottawa Booth Centre men’s emergency shelter for eight months as a resident.

“The Salvation Army was very nice to me,” Liem says. “They asked me a lot of questions to find out what I needed. I told them I just don’t have anywhere to go.”

During his time there, case workers journeyed alongside Liem to assess his immediate needs while working diligently to find him permanent housing.

While waiting for housing, Liem completed the Residential Life Skills program at The Salvation Army, which equipped him with new skills and supports to be successful. The Salvation Army’s housing team helped Liem find his current apartment and he now receives old age security and CPP and is living independently and able to put food on his table.

Liem’s story is one of many across the Ottawa region of struggling individuals who, without notice, find themselves homeless and at the doorsteps of The Salvation Army where they receive life-changing supports, guiding them on a pathway to a brighter future.

The Salvation Army provides critical services and programs in Ottawa addressing housing and homelessness, and food security while giving a helping hand to young parents and families through parenting and educational supports at The Salvation Army Bethany Hope Centre.

“The Salvation Army’s presence in the Ottawa area is far-reaching and our life-changing programs help people find permanent housing, put food on their tables, and mentor young parents so they are able to achieve their long-term goals,” said Glenn van Gulik, Divisional Secretary for Public Relations, The Salvation Army Ontario Division. “We are seeing a dramatic increase for our services as more people are finding it difficult to make ends meet because of the high cost of food and housing. We’re very grateful for the community’s generosity and we’re appealing to them to support The Salvation Army’s work in helping their struggling neighbours.”

ABOVE: Salvation Army volunteers lend a hand at a food bank. (Photo: Jerimi Jones)


Through early intervention and focusing on a housing-first approach, last year, The Salvation Army referred 440 people to housing. Also in 2022, The Salvation Army Community and Family Services provided food security to 1,200 single households and 750 families. This year, the Salvation Army anticipates increased demand for its life-changing programs, and mission partners’ support is more vital than ever.

Over the coming weeks, The Salvation Army’s iconic Christmas Kettle Campaign will get underway – a vital fundraising appeal that directly supports Ottawa’s most vulnerable year-round, as their mission partners will be bringing smiles and ringing bells while volunteering their time accepting donations from generous donors.

Every dollar put into a kettle ensures The Salvation Army can deliver life-changing programs that provide dignity and a way out of poverty permanently for many who are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Last year, The Salvation Army supported over 1.5 million individuals and families throughout Ontario.

When you see The Salvation Army’s red kettles and bell ringers this holiday season, remember Liem’s story and be a transforming influence in your community.

Please donate at one of our over 30 kettle locations around Ottawa this Christmas, which are equipped with TipTap touchless giving. You can also donate online at SalvationArmy.ca or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Header photo: Caroline Frankshttps://salvationarmy.ca/donations/