It’s a Record: $142 Million in Giving!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank you, America! The Salvation Army raised $142 million in Christmas Red Kettles during the 2010 season, setting a record for the sixth straight year!

This is great news considering how much more need we’ve seen across the country, and these funds will go to support our many programs year round.

Wow. It was a busy Red Kettle season, to say the least. We used many of our traditional efforts, from the volunteer bell ringers you probably saw on every corner, to our annual Thanksgiving Day Kickoff at Cowboys Stadium. Plus, we had a few new ideas up our sleeves, like our Rock the Red Kettle Concert and a new iPhone app.

When it all comes down to it, though, we couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thank you for your generosity. And thanks to our many corporate partners for your continued support. We’re very grateful for all of your help with assisting those in need!

If you’d like to know more about our record Red Kettle Season, check out our official press release here.

Or if you’re more of a visual person, you may prefer this cool fact sheet:

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An Unconventional Christmas Story

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One of the things I love most about Christmas is the many classic holiday tales that are told every year and yet never seem to get old. There’s Clement Clarke Moore’s poem Twas the Night Before Christmas, Dr. Seuss’ beloved How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and, if you want to count animated classics, those great TV specials featuring Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

This year I have a new favorite. It really isn’t a Christmas story at all, but it has all the makings of one, and best of all, it’s true.

In The Chicago Tribune, Rex Huppke admitted to having a “bah humbug” attitude when he hears the ringing of Salvation Army hand bells. More specifically, he said he’d like to “gather them up and throw them all into Lake Michigan.”

To make it worse, he made it his personal mission to “rid the world of unsolicited street ringing.” Who is this guy, the long lost cousin of the Grinch?

But as Huppke adamantly pursues his Scrooge-like quest against The Salvation Army, he has an epiphany that leads him to a complete change of heart. We might even say “it grew three sizes that day!”

We highly recommend you give the article a read. We’ve linked to it here. Even if you enjoy the sound of Salvation Army Bellringers, Huppke’s insight offers a poignant reminder of the purpose behind this holiday tradition.

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Help Us Thank Our Amazing Partners!

Monday, December 13, 2010

If you’ve started to tackle your Christmas shopping, you’ve probably noticed our Salvation Army red kettles are out in full force. There’s going to be around 25,000 workers and volunteers this season collecting donations in front of your favorite stores.

This iconic tradition and vital fundraiser started in 1891 in San Francisco would not be the same without the generous support of the businesses who welcome Salvation Army bell ringers and kettles outside their doors.

Have you noticed that everyone you know recognizes a Salvation Army bell ringer and kettle? That’s because thanks to these businesses kindly sharing their space with us, we’ve been able to significantly raise awareness of need in your local community and our efforts to serve that need.

In fact, this broad visibility has contributed to The Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign being known as one of the most enduring and recognizable fundraising campaigns ever.

As if that weren’t enough, many of these stores even match kettle donations or contribute their own!

Here at The Salvation Army we want to offer a huge THANK YOU to all the stores who welcome our red kettles. Thank you for believing in our cause and giving us the opportunity. We’re proud to partner with you in serving our communities.

Next time you see a kettle outside a store, we encourage you to let the business know how much you appreciate their support of The Salvation Army. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them!

Below is a list of our national store partners. This list is not exhaustive, as there are many more regional and local businesses who participate in our Red Kettle Campaign as well:

* Big Lots
* Bloomingdale’s
* Hobby Lobby
* JCPenney
* Kroger
* Macy’s
* Sam’s Club
* Simon Malls
* Walgreens
* WalMart

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Our Holiday Hero

Thursday, December 9, 2010

USA Today is running a ‘Holiday Heroes’ series from now thru Christmas about people who go to great lengths to serve others. It’s a great read that will make your heart swell during the season of giving.

Grab today’s front page, or visit their website at www.usatoday.com. The hero they’re featuring this week is Stephen Smith, and get this – he’s only 11 years old!

But for the past 7 years (yes, his philanthropic spirit was inspired at the age of 4) he and his family go all out to donate Christmas presents to The Salvation Army for children in need.

We won’t ruin the story for you, but it’s amazing to read how a preschooler’s sincere concern for others has snowballed into a wonderful annual community tradition of giving back.

It just goes to show that absolutely anyone can make a positive difference if their heart’s in it. To Stephen and the Smith family, thanks for helping The Salvation Army do the most good!

Check out the Holiday Heroes article here. It’s a truly amazing story!

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Some Tips from the Reigning Online Kettle King

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We know. Salvation Army bell ringers are probably all over the place in your town! but there’s even more of them that you don’t see because their kettles are all online.

Yep. Virtual bell ringers.

And Jim Cummings from Denver, CO seems to be the virtual kettle king. So far this season his online kettle has raised a hefty $52,000, nearly 75% of his $70,000 goal. The guy’s good!

So good, in fact, that this is actually his 5th year in a row to raise the most money for an individual online kettle. As you recall, this Thanksgiving his efforts earned him a trip to our Red Kettle Kickoff in Dallas. In past years his outstanding kettle also won him another trip to Dallas to attend The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board Conference. Jim is on the Salvation Army Advisory Board for Metro Denver where he is 1st vice chair.

[Jim Cummings]
Jim hands out and posts cards encouraging people to donate to his online kettle. This is one side…

How’s he do it? Jim does a great job of reaching out to friends, family, and coworkers through email to encourage them to help him fill his online red kettle. And even something as simple as an email pays off big.

“I am a retired partner of Deloitte and a large portion of my gifts come through present and past Deloitte personnel from all over the world,” he says. “I have received gifts this year from Hong Kong, UK and Germany.”

But as many contacts as Jim already has, he’s not afraid to enlist the help of acquaintances.

Jim regularly volunteers with a real bell and kettle at Walmart and the mall. When people pass by or donate their change, he hands them a card he pre-printed with information about how to donate to his online red kettle. They may forget Jim’s name and web address by the time they get home, but they’ve got the handout to remind them! He also posts the cards at various places like Starbucks and church.

[Jim Cummings ]
…and this is the other.

How does he feel after all that work?

“It was a lot of fun,” he admits. “A lot of people wanted to see me win.”

His impressive record has earned him a special nickname from his church pastor:
“#1 ding-a-ling.”

So what advice can Jim give someone who wants to support The Salvation Army but doesn’t think standing on street corners with a bell and kettle is their thing?

He recommends do it all online by hosting you own virtual red kettle. The website is easy to work with and raising support is as simple as sending an email to friends and family.

To start your own individual or team (yes, get others involved too!) kettle, visit www.onlineredkettle.org.

Who knows, maybe next year you’ll give Jim a run for his money for the 2011 title of #1 ding-a-ling.



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He’s Our New Favorite Elf

Friday, December 3, 2010

This man has got to be the cutest elf we’ve ever seen…

But the toys he makes year round don’t go towards Santa’s stash. They go to The Salvation Army.

The elf is 90 year-old Sidney Johnson of Fremont, Nebraska who uses his skills to create beautiful toys to benefit underprivileged children. He’s made hundreds over the last several years, and he could have probably made even more if his family didn’t impose a 1 toy/day limit to keep the elderly elf from wearing himself out!

A Nebraska NBC news station recently ran the story and video [embedded above], which are being picked up by affiliates around the country. It’s apparent that we at The Salvation Army aren’t the only ones who love the guy – just read the comments viewers posted here under the original news story, and you’ll get an idea of the fan base that has rallied around Mr. Johnson!

Mr. Johnson, The Salvation Army would like to echo those sentiments of appreciation. We are blessed by your kindness and sincerely grateful for your selfless efforts to serve underprivileged families. You’ve been a wonderful blessing to far many more people than you know!

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The Most Important Text Message You can Send

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recent studies show teens send and receive on average almost 3,340 text messages per month! Older cell phone users aren’t quite as active, but even those in their 50’s still average several hundred. To state the obvious – that’s a lot.

Imagine if we used even a small portion of all the text messages we send to make a lasting impact on others.

With The Salvation Army’s Text to Give campaign, we can.

Just text “GIVE” to 85944 to donate $10, and you will help provide a meal for a hungry family, a place to sleep for the homeless, job training skills for an out of work individual, or other life-changing opportunities for those in need.

That’s a text message that says a lot.

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Congrats to Our Kettle Contest Winner! See you in Dallas

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Congratulations to Jim Cummings, the big winner of our Online Red Kettle contest!

Jim has won an expenses-paid trip to Dallas where he’ll be in the middle of all the Thanksgiving Day action straight from the seats of Cowboys Stadiums. That includes a rocking performance by Keith Urban during our Red Kettle Kickoff halftime show and a must-see match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints.

Of all individual online red kettles, Jim’s raised the most money, receiving donations all the way from Hong Kong, UK and Germany. Thanks Jim, for your work in helping raise funds to support Salvation Army services for those in need!

The contest may be over, but we still need virtual bell ringers! You can start your own online red kettle by registering at www.onlineredkettle.org.

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Tomorrow: Red Kettle Kickoff, LIVE from Cowboys Stadium!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

[Keith Urban]
Keith Urban will perform for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff during the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game halftime show. Game airs LIVE at 3:15CT/4:15ET on FOX.

Tomorrow’s the big day. Yes, Thanksgiving, but also…

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff! The event marks the official launch of our Christmas fundraising campaign, and as always, we’re doing it up BIG!

We’re teaming up with the Dallas Cowboys (marking 14 years of partnership)to bring you an amazing halftime show during their Thanksgiving Day game versus the New Orleans Saints. Three-time Grammy Award winner Keith Urban will be the featured performer, rocking the stadium out with hits from his new album.

The Cowboys Game and Kettle Kickoff Halftime Show will air LIVE on FOX at 3:15CT/4:15ET.

So whether you’re gearing up for or winding down from your turkey dinner, be sure to tune in!

A scene from the 2009 Red Kettle Kickoff with Daughtry.

As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers across the country will ring bells and collect donations for people in need with our iconic red kettles. Over the years your generous contributions have helped us serve 30 million Americans each year, and last year you outdid yourselves – giving a record $139 million to our Red Kettle Campaign! Maybe this year we can surpass that too…but we’ll worry about breaking records later.

For now, enjoy your Thanksgiving, and enjoy the halftime show! We hope it will become a part of your family’s annual turkey day traditions.

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Tune In: Kettle Kickoff Interview Btwn Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and Our National Commander

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Salvation Army officially kicks off our annual Christmas Red Kettle Campaign this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, with the help of the Dallas Cowboys!

We’re pumped. The fun will start early in the morning with a LIVE interview from Cowboys stadium between team owner Jerry Jones and Salvation Army National Commander William Roberts.

You can tune in as they discuss the Christmas Kettle Kickoff and how donations raised during the holiday season will help meet needs in your local community all year long. Find your city and local affiliate on the chart below for air times:

Later that day, country music star Keith Urban will celebrate our Red Kettle Kickoff with an awesome performance during the Dallas Cowboys halftime show. The game and show will be nationally televised LIVE by FOX at 3:15 CT/4:15ET, so be sure to tune in!

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