The Real Thanksgiving Classic


By Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive Vice President of Brand Management/President of Charities for the Dallas Cowboys and Chairperson of The Salvation Army National Advisory Board

Everyone with the Dallas Cowboys is gearing up for our big Thanksgiving Day game this Thursday against the Washington Redskins. Our Thanksgiving Classic is such a wonderful tradition for fans, players and viewers at home. But, it’s so much more than a day of great football.

This is the sixteenth year the Dallas Cowboys will have the honor of helping The Salvation Army kick-off the annual Red Kettle Christmas Campaign during halftime on Thanksgiving. This annual tradition has raised tremendous awareness for the organization,  and helped raise more than $1.5 billion dollars in the red kettles over the years, making a palpable difference in the lives of those in need. As the official charity of choice for The Dallas Cowboys Football Club and The Jones Family Charities, The Salvation Army has a special place in the heart of Cowboys Nation. My dad, Jerry Jones, is even the standing honorary Christmas Chairperson for the Red Kettle Campaign.

Getting involved with The Salvation Army was an easy choice. In the early 1990s, we came away from the excitement and media attention surrounding our three Super Bowl wins within four years with a remarkable opportunity to shine light on an organization that was truly making a difference in the lives of others. I was tasked with finding a group that was national in scope, had a strong brand, and most importantly, carried themselves and their work with integrity.

A few weeks later, I met with Steve Reinemund at Frito Lay. At the time, he was acting in my current role as The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board Chairperson, and he described how the Cowboys could help bring awareness to a group that was too humble to talk about the great work it does every day in communities across the country. I suggested that we use our annual, nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game to produce a show to launch the annual Red Kettle Campaign – and on that day, the National Red Kettle Kick-Off was born, as was our passion for The Salvation Army.

It is inspiring to have such a wonderful partner like The Salvation Army and the opportunity to spread its message of doing the most good. The Army, as we affectionately call it, serves around 30 million people in need each year – that’s almost one person every second. They are trustworthy and passionate about their cause, whether providing shelter, clothing, food, or other assistance to those who come through their doors. It’s the Cowboys’ mission to do what we can to help people see what The Salvation Army does, and we hope that others take up the charge of giving back in their own communities this season, whether through donating, volunteering, or any other way to lend a hand.

This year, we are so excited to have Kenny Chesney as the performer for our 16th annual Red Kettle Kick-Off, someone who is truly passionate about entertaining, football and giving back to the less fortunate. We can’t wait for you to join us on Thursday, whether in person at the stadium or at home with your families. The game starts at 3:30PM (CT) on FOX, so be sure to tune in!