Generational connection to The Salvation Army keeps this volunteer dedicating his time every year

by mariasilva

It’s the 1950’s, and the Christmas season is here. A crowded shopping mall in Toronto has a 

young boy and his father wandering the corridors when they spot a man in

uniform standing beside a red bucket. The ringing of a bell leads the father

and son towards the man. The boy’s father reaches for his wallet and pulls out a few dollars that he

 drops into the red kettle.  Tinging can be heard at the bottom of the kettle, a sound associated with

giving hope. The boy’s father looks at him, a man of a few words, and explains

to him, ‘they’re good people, and they were there for my dad in the trenches in France.’


A conversation with this Aunt brought back these memories for Jim Primeau. Sitting around her kitchen table, an AD was posted in their local newspaper looking for volunteers for The Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign. Primeau knew that the generational connection to The Salvation Army for his family was enough to dedicate his time to the organization.

In 2012, Primeau rang the bell for the first time, manning the kettle during the holiday season in his home province of Ontario.
Every Saturday, an hour drive into the city to volunteer, his time began with Bikram yoga before heading to the grocery store where he would collect donations for The Salvation Army.

After the loss of his wife, Primeau was looking to relocate but was unsure where. In 2013, he moved to Fort McMurray, and his relocation led him to The Salvation Army community church.

Primeau continued his support for the organization after his move, which had him volunteering hours during the Christmas season once again.
“It’s a good way to give back to the community, Primeau said.

As he volunteers each year, his location stays the same. He has several regular donors who come each year.

“I tend to see the same folks, and we pick up where we left off from the year before. You see the little ones coming through, and they’re getting bigger,” Primeau said. “It gives me an opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best.”

Primeau is one of the many volunteers across Canada who donate a few hours of their day to The Salvation Army. Monetary donations collected by volunteers help fund programs year-round and support those who turn to us for help.

The Salvation Army offers many volunteer opportunities to those looking to restore hope in their community. Visit to learn more.