The Red Kettle

The Red Kettle

We’ve all seen them this time of year---those bell ringers standing outside local department stores next to their red kettle. Those people ringing the bell are volunteers for The Salvation Army.  As most of you know, The Salvation Army is an organization whose mission is to aid families and individuals in their time of need—whether it is by providing food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless or any number of other charitable acts.  Have you ever wondered how that red kettle came to be part of their campaign? 

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was upset that many people in the San Francisco area were going hungry during the holiday season.  He remembered that as a sailor in Liverpool, England, there was a large iron kettle known as “Simpson’s Pot” at the harbor where the boats came in.   Passersby would toss coins into the kettle to aid the poor.  He decided to place a pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing with a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had all the money he needed to feed the San Francisco area poor during the holidays.  In six short years, his fundraising idea spread from the West Coast to the Boston area, and 150,000 Christmas dinners were served nationwide. 

Today, more than four and one-half million people in the U.S. benefit from The Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign during the holiday season.  This campaign also helps fund many of The Salvation Army’s projects throughout the year.  Whenever I see the red kettles during the holiday season, they serve as a reminder of how very fortunate I am compared to many others, and I gladly make a contribution.  If we all could give a little, it would mean a lot to those less fortunate.



We�ve all seen them this time of year---those bell ringers standing outside local department stores next to their red kettle. Those people ringing the bell are volunteers for The Salvation Army. As most of you know, The Salvation Army is an organization whose mission is to aid families and individuals in their time of need�whether it is by providing food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless or any number of other charitable acts. Have you ever wondered how that red kettle came to be part of their campaign?