The Salvation Army is today starting off their traditional Christmas campaign. To many, it offers a Christmas atmosphere, for others, food, warm clothes, and a sense of dignity.
The Christmas collection originally started in San Francisco in the late 1800s, and has since spread to countries all over the world.
In Norway, the so-called ‘julegryta’ has been the Salvation Army’s collective action in December since 1901. Othilie Tonning, then leader of the Salvation Army’s social work among women, looked at it as a solution to raising funds for her work.
And so it remains. The funds that enter the Christmas collection box make much of the Salvation Army’s social work possible locally throughout the year. In 2016, the
Norwegian people collected just over NOK 30 million in the pot. Now the collection boxes are about to be put out again.
Commander William Cochrane is the current leader of the Salvation Army in Norway. The Scots man will soon experience his second Christmas here, and he is impressed with the Norwegian people’s generosity.
‘When I experienced December in Norway for the first time, I was overwhelmed to see the position of Christmas collection boxes in this country, and the huge trust and gratitude that the Norwegian people show toward the Salvation Army. It is a support and trust we do not take lightly’, he said.
Increasing differences in Norway
The Poverty Report, which came from NAV in 2016, said that the social differences in Norway are increasing. It showed, among other things, that 92,000 children live in households with sustained low income, and the Salvation Army is constantly experiencing increased recovery of food, especially at Christmas.
‘When we put out the Christmas presents for the 117th time this year, it’s not because it’s a tradition, but because there are still many who need our help in Norway,’ Cochrane confirmed.
‘Julegryta’s donors rarely get to see or experience the happiness of the recipients directly, but we know that many people appreciate the help we can provide together,’ he says.
Although Christmas is a venerable tradition, the Salvation Army wishes to adapt to changes in people’s forms of payment. For several years it has been possible to donate by card and SMS, and especially last year, Vipps was a significant donor channel.
‘We are concerned that it will be a pleasure to provide, and easy. No matter how to give, there is a short road from giver to recipient, and the gratitude for all the gifts is great.
This year we will also give people the opportunity to create collection boxes as a crowdfunding solution at salvationarms.bidra.no. In this way, you can also spread digital collection boxes on social media’, said Media and Collecting Director of the Salvation Army, Jan Aasmann Størksen.
The time when Christmas collection points are placed may vary locally. Information about time, and location, can be found at www.frelsesarmeen.no/julegryta. On this website you can also find other information about the Christmas collection.
Source: Frelsesarmeen / Norway Today