Guy Bird leads the Chordial Invitation Chorus in song Saturday at Orchard Park mall in Kelowna to raise money for the Salvation Army.
As of Saturday morning, this year's Christmas campaign had netted $475,000 of the $700,000 goal.
However, the drive was expected to get a big boost from a partnership with Walmart Canada. All donations received in the kettles at the Kelowna and West Kelowna stores on Saturday will be matched by the company up to a nationwide maximum of $50,000.
"Last year, our kettles at the two local Walmart stores had the highest donations of any Walmart locations in the country," Geri Grainger, the Sally Ann's community services manager, said Saturday.
"We were just really successful in getting the word out that Walmart would be making a contribution to the campaign based on the local kettles at their stores," Grainger said.
"I think people like to know that their dollars are going even further with that kind of partnership," she said. "And of course we thank Walmart tremendously for their help."
On Wednesday last week, Salvation Army directors said they were concerned about this year's appeal possibly not reaching its target. At that point, $375,000 had come in through the kettles, the mail campaign or via online donations.
"Since our public appeal, things have really picked up," Grainger said.
A simultaneous call for 100-plus volunteers to man the kettles also succeeded, with all available two-hour shifts at various locations now spoken for until the end of the campaign on Christmas Eve.
"We're now taking names for standby positions," Grainger said. "These are people we can call at a moment's notice if someone isn't able to make their shift because they've come down with a cold or flu."
Donations can be made online at KelownaSalvationArmy.ca.
The funds go toward both the preparation of Christmas hampers and a variety of other Salvation Army programs that operate year-round.