This is the time of the year that everyone seems to want to donate to charities. One charity is prominent each winter; Salvation Army. Walk into many a store and you will pass a Salvation Army Red Kettle. But, what is the Red Kettle all about and what does the Salvation Army do with the money raised? These are questions that my kids have been asking and ones I wanted to share the answers today with you.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for The Salvation Army. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
What is the Salvation Army?
The Salvation Army is not a new organization. In fact, the Army was originally established in London in 1865. They have been helping people for nearly 150 years internationally and for more than 130 years in the United States.
- In 2013, The Salvation Army’s 3,600 officers, 59,000 employees and 3.4 million volunteers served nearly 30 million Americans in need. That’s almost one person, every second, every day.
- The Army has nearly 7,600 centers of operation covering nearly every zip code in the country.
- They also have a worldwide presence, providing assistance to people in more than 120 countries and territories around the world.
So what is with that Red Kettle and why is it out around Christmastime?
Money given to the kettles enable The Salvation Army to bring the spirit of Christmas to those who would otherwise be forgotten all year long – to the aged and lonely, the ill, the inmates of jails and other institutions, the poor and unfortunate.
The Salvation Army’s Captain McFee in San Francisco had resolved in December of 1891 to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor. But how would he pay for the food? As he went about his daily tasks, the question stayed in his mind. Suddenly, his thoughts went back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. On the Stage Landing, where the boats came in, he saw a large pot into which charitable donations were thrown by passersby.
On the next morning, he secured permission from the authorities to place a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing, at the foot of Market Street. 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 ferryboats. Thus, Captain Joseph McFee launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but throughout the world.
Kettles can now be found online and at sites in many foreign countries such as Korea, Japan, and Chile, many European countries and Australia. Online Red Kettles make donating even simpler and have raised millions of dollars in donations over the past seven years.
What makes this year different for the Salvation Army Red Kettles?
This year, the Salvation Army is embracing social media. They want people to think about and share how their donation is making a difference. They ask that you share your reason for giving with the #RedKettleReason hashtag. Your reason, as well as those of anyone else who uses the hashtag, can be found on RedKettleReason.org. In doing this, you can see what the rest of America is giving to the Salvation Army!
I mentioned above that the Salvation Army is widespread. Their goodness is seen and felt by many. Last year, our area was hit by a tornado. The houses in one neighborhood were demolished, those in another damaged enough that people could no longer live in them until fixed. The Salvation Army was there. They brought food, water, blankets, and other items to those that were helping clean up. They offered those displaced help with temporary housing, clothing, and other necessary items to live. They made a difference in the lives of so many of my neighbors, neighbors that were dealt an unfortunate hand. So many were thankful to the Salvation Army for their kindness and generosity in this very difficult time.
I have talked to my kids about the Red Kettles. They love to hear the bell and know that they are helping others. It may only be the change in my pocket, but we always donate when we walk past. We have our own #RedKettleReason to donate. We want everyone to have a meal in their stomach, clothes on their back, and a place to lay their head at night.