Red Kettles and the Salvation Army

Thursday, December 12, 2019

You know it’s the holiday season in many cities all over the world when you see the Salvation Army’s red kettles and bell ringers. 

The Salvation Army is a well known charity that has been helping the needy throughout the world over the last 150 years. The financial contributions they collect help fund their programs, but how did the kettle collection get started? 

In San Francisco, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee needed to raise money to provide a Christmas meal for 1000 of the city’s poorest residents. Recalling his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England, he remembered seeing a large, iron kettle called Simpson's Pot at the port, into which people who passed tossed coins for the poor. He adopted this idea by placing a pot at the ferry port in a popular location of San Francisco and was able to collect enough money for the Christmas meal. 

This kettle collection idea sparked an inspiring tradition that continues every year all over the world, and the funds raised allow the Salvation Army to fulfill their mission throughout the year. Do you see red kettles and volunteer bell ringers in your city this time of year? 

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