A ceremonial donation helped kick off the Salvation Army’s Christmas fundraising campaign Wednesday morning.

The “Hope in the City” luncheon also featured a keynote address by Jay Barnard who was addicted to drugs and alcohol in 2008 when he arrived in Ottawa. He said the programs offered by the Salvation Army saved his life.

“If it wasn’t for the Salvation Army I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Barnard said.

Barnard is now a chef and operates his own business in Kenora called Freshwater Cuisine.

This year the Salvation Army hopes to raise $550,000 through the Kettle Campaign.

All the money raised will stay in Ottawa and support critical programs and services programs and services offered by the Salvation Army year round.