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.
It’s that time of year again. Holiday shopping season. I know I have wish lists for family and friends filling up my phone, spilling out of my pockets, and even taking up space in my head and I’m sure you do too. Every year I do my best to find the perfect gift for those on my lists and that means going from store to store to store at times making sure I have everything checked off and ready to be wrapped. While thinking of those we love is important to me this time of year, I also always keep in mind those in need as well. That’s why when I’m shopping it warms my heart to see the Red Kettles of the Salvation Army and to hear all those volunteers ringing their bells.
Seeing the Salvation Army Red Kettle and hearing the bell ringing has become such a part of my holiday season that it just wouldn’t feel the same without it. I love the Red Kettle because it is such a simple way to give and to help those in need. You can donate your change from your latest shopping trip or a little bit more.
It’s also a wonderful teaching tool for children. Kora & Logan remember it each year and it presents a great opportunity for discussion about helping those in need. We love to give back whenever we can and make it a point to teach the kids the importance of generosity and helping others. Now that Kora & Logan are a bit older we have been participating in a number of different family volunteering projects and we make sure they see that we donate to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle and that we are happy to talk about it with them. My hope is that through all of these activities they will grow up with charitable spirits and giving back will be very important to them.
I was interested to recently read about the history of the Salvation Army Red Kettle. I didn’t know how it began or how long it had been around. Here’s a brief summary: The Salvation Army was originally started in London in 1865 and in December of 1891, the Salvation Army’s Captain McFee had resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner to those in need in San Francisco. In order to pay for the meal he got permission from authorities to place a pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street so it could be seen for all who interested in donating. By 1895 the kettle was used in 30 Salvation Army’s in various sections of the West Coast. In 1897 it reached Boston and that year the Red Kettle resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy.
Today donations to the Salvation Army Red Kettle at Christmas support the nearly 30 million people served by the Army through shelters, after school programs, addiction recovery programs, summer camps, disaster assistance, and many other social services. I was impressed to read that all donations remain in the communities where they originated. According to The New York Times, “The Salvation Army is widely considered exemplary among nonprofits handling cash donations.”
Through the public’s generosity in 2013, in the United States alone:
- The Salvation Army served more than 58 million meals to the needy.
- 204,000 people received rehabilitation services through donations to Family Stores.
- Over 203,000 underprivileged children attended day care and summer day camps.
- The Army provided nearly 10 million nights of shelter.
- 324,000 people received help during times of disaster.
- More than 4 million families and children were served during the holidays.
- More than 1.8 million people received help through senior, medical and institutional services.
Red Kettles can now be found at sites in many foreign countries including Korea, Japan, Chile, as well as across Europe and Australia. Online Red Kettles have made donating even simpler and have raised millions of dollars over the last seven years. This year the Salvation Army launched the Red Kettle Reason site to encourage people to share their reason for giving. It’s a wonderful way to spread the giving spirit and to get inspired by reading others’ Red Kettle Reason.
The site also features an interactive mosaic and a map of the conversations happening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube along with an easy way to donate directly to the Salvation Army.
You can also text to donate. Simple text the word “KETTLE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle.
I’m very excited to see the Salvation Army Red Kettles out this year and look forward to giving along with Kora & Logan. Our Red Kettle Reason for giving is to put a smile on the faces of those who need it this holiday season.
What’s your Red Kettle Reason? Share on social media using the hashtag #RedKettleReason and be part of the Salvation Army’s interactive mosaic and help spread joy for the holidays.