The Story of the Red Kettle

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We’re officially in the Christmas season, and chances are you’ve seen or will soon see our Salvation Army Red Kettles and bell ringers while you’re out and about.

Our Red Kettles have become a holiday icon – just ask anybody about them and they’ll know what you’re talking about. But do you know how this tradition started?

Today I thought it would be helpful to share the history of The Salvation Army’s Christmas Red Kettle Campaign to give you a deeper understanding of the heart behind this century-old tradition. Here goes:

In San Francisco during December of 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor, but he had no way to pay for all that food from his own pocket. So the question remained, how would he do it?

His thoughts went back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. On the Stage Landing he saw a large iron kettle called “Simpson’s pot” into which passers-by dropped charitable donations.

The next day he received permission to place a similar kettle at the Oakland ferry landing. No time was lost in securing the pot and placing it in a conspicuous position, so that it could be seen by all those going to and from the ferry boats. Beside it he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” Word spread of his endeavor and he quickly raised the funds to feed 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas day! But he didn’t end it there.

By 1985 the kettle was used in 30 Salvation Army locations along the West Coast, and shortly after they spread to the East Coast. In 1897, the kettle fundraising campaign in Boston and other cities helped pay for 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy.

Thus, Captain McFee launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but throughout the world.

Today, donations raised through our Christmas Red Kettle Campaign fund a vast range of Salvation Army programs and services that serve 30 million Americans year round.

So remember, when you’re dropping a donation in to a Red Kettle, you’re continuing a long standing tradition, but most importantly, you’re making it possible for The Salvation Army to continue to serve the those most in need.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you are enjoying a blessed holiday with your family and friends. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Cooking all day? Or just eating the food…

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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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Our Red Kettles are even on CNN

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Salvation Army’s Major George Hood, National Community Relations and Development Secretary, appeared live on CNN yesterday with host Ali Velshi to discuss our 2010 Red Kettle Campaign.

As our iconic red kettles are already appearing on streets and by store fronts, Major Hood talked about how the money raised from this holiday tradition is critical in supporting local Army programs and services year round.

In case you missed the interview, we’ve got the video for you right here:

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Salvation Army Bell Ringer Sets a World Record

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Salvation Army captain is the newest name to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records! Captain Ken Chapman from The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division set the record for continuous bell-ringing for 30 hours, 5 minutes, and 50 seconds, breaking the previous record of 28 hours and 50 minutes set in Canada. Congratulations!

But the stunt was more than just about having his name go down in history. Dressed in his Salvation Army uniform with his hand bell and a Red Kettle close by, Captain Chapman’s goal was to recruit more bell-ringing volunteers and raise awareness of the great need in his local community.

In fact, Salvation Army units across the country are looking for volunteer bell ringers. If Captain Chapman can ring a bell for more than a day straight, we’re sure some folks out there can do it for an hour or two!

Please contact your local Salvation Army to learn more about how you can sign up to be a Christmas bell ringer. We can always use more.

In the meantime, Captain Chapman is giving his arms a rest while he waits for his record to be certified by Guinness World Record officials in London.

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Kickin’ Off This Year’s Red Kettle Campaign Is…

Monday, October 25, 2010

The wait is over! Our National Advisory Board Chair Charlotte Jones Anderson made the announcement on ESPN’s Monday Night Football this evening…

Three-time Grammy Award winner Keith Urban has been named the featured performer for this year’s Salvation Army’s Kettle Kickoff! That means you get to watch him rock out during the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show on November 25 aired on FOX. (Read our official press release here)

But instead of watching from your couch, how would you like to catch all the action live at Cowboys Stadium?

As a part of the Kettle Kickoff promotion, fans will have an opportunity to win an expense-paid trip to the game to see Keith’s performance and watch Dallas take on last year’s Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints. Just signup to be an Online Red Kettle virtual bell ringer at www.onlineredkettle.org, and the fans who collect the most donations for people in need have a chance to win! You can checkout rules and details at www.onlineredkettle.org, but the contest has started and there’s no time to waste, so we’re including key info below as well.

May the best virtual bell ringer win!

Eligibilty: The Contest is open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older, residing in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. Employees, soldiers and officers affiliated with The Salvation Army and their family members are eligible to participate.

Contest Time Period: The Contest runs from October 25, 2010 through Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET.

How to Sign Up: Participants can sign up for individual Online Red Kettles on the Internet at www.onlineredkettle.org and following the directions provided.

Prize Package: The prize package includes:

* Two game tickets to the November 25, 2010, Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX

* Two field-level passes to the Keith Urban half-time performance

* One-night hotel stay for two persons at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center in Dallas in a single room with two queen-sized beds

* Two round-trip coach-class airline tickets from U.S. destinations (excluding U.S. territories and outlying areas) on a major commercial carrier, subject to seat availability

Winner: The participant whose individual Online Red Kettle has the highest monetary total of donations as of November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET, will be declared the winner.

Tie-Breaker: In the event that more than one kettle has the exact same total, the person whose kettle was registered in the Online Red Kettle system first will be declared the winner.

Notification: The winner will be notified via the e-mail address they used to register their individual Online Red Kettle.

General Conditions: No purchase necessary.
Again, for more contest details please visit www.OnlineRedKettle.org or our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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Donations to Nation’s Biggest Charities Drop 11%

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A new report shows that donations to the nation’s 400 biggest charities dropped 11% last year, the most significant decline in the 20 years it’s been tracked. Ranked #2 on the list, The Salvation Army was no exception to the decrease having seen an 8.4% cut in donations.

The effects of our country’s economic recession have put charities in a sort of Catch-22. More people are in need and the demand for assistance increases, but fewer resources are available to meet this demand.

We would like to point out though, that even though our total charitable donations fell during 2009, generous givers like you still contributed a record amount to our Christmas Red Kettles. Every little penny counts in our mission to indiscriminately meet human need, so thank you for digging deep!

As the holiday season approaches yet again, please consider how you might be able to help The Salvation Army serve others during this time of overwhelming need. Like the rest of the population, we aren’t immune to the economic hardships, but we are committed to “doing the most good” in all circumstances.

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In Need of Holiday Volunteers

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The holidays are right around the corner, and many community Salvation Army units are searching for volunteers to assist with their seasonal activities and services. The holiday season is generally the busiest time for us and the extra hands lent by volunteers make all the difference in helping us stretch our service to people in need.

Can you find time, anywhere from one hour to a few days, to help The Salvation Army serve your community this season? Maybe you’d like to help with a toy drive, be a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer, assist with meal distributions or just jump in wherever you’re needed most.

Visit your local Salvation Army’s website to see if they are offering information and sign-up for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see anything online yet, just give your community’s unit a call and ask what you can do. You can find your nearest Salvation Army by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org and typing in your zip code in the top menu bar’s “Locations” field.

Scott Bedio, Archivist for The Salvation Army USA’s National Headquarters, has volunteered as a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer every holiday season for the past 20 years and believes “there’s no better way to give back.”

Over the years he’s come to recognize many of the faces who pass by and donate to his kettle season after season. He says many strangers even feel compelled to talk to him about their personal stories of how The Salvation Army has helped them in times of need.

One of Scott’s favorite parts of being a Bell Ringer is seeing what he calls “generational giving” – when children, parents and grandparents share in the tradition of donating to the red kettles. He also looks forward to when his son is old enough to participate with him in his annual bell ringing tradition.

For those of you who are considering being a first time Bell Ringer, Scott offered some great advice:

Dress in Layers. Standing out in cold weather can be the hardest part of bell ringing, so covering up from head to toe can help you endure the elements with less shivering.

Be Creative. People love to hear the bell, but you can also mix it up. Scott sometimes brings his tuba and plays Christmas music when he wants to give his hands a break from ringing. Others have also been known to sing!

It’s All About Your Rhythm. If you don’t want to wear out your arm, Scott advises to not overuse your arm and elbow when ringing by keeping your bell near your waist and focusing most of your movements in your hand. But the technique of bell ringing is flexible so feel free to work out a style of your own.

As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Scott what’s the most important thing people should know before they volunteer as a bell ringer?

After thinking a bit, he replied, “Have a smile on your face and enjoy the people. It’s a special time.”

Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved with? Contact your local Salvation Army today to get started.

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We Have an App for That

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mashable, one of the most well-known blogs focused exclusively on social media, just released a their top 5 list of non-profit apps that you should know about, and The Salvation Army ‘ Bellringer’ App made the rank!

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