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The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle

Updated on December 11, 2010

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle


The Salvation Army Kettle

If you have ever gone shopping at the mall during the Christmas season then you would have heard the familiar Salvation Army bells. Even in the cold weather people volunteer to brave the temperatures to bring some Christmas cheer to the less fortunate. When my children were little they always wanted coins to put into the kettle every time we past by.

When did this kettle campaign start? The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 by William Booth and his wife Catherine and was originally called the Christian Mission. The name was changed in 1878 to The Salvation Army due to an article published in the newspaper referring to The Christian Mission as a volunteer army. William Booth changed the word volunteer to salvation. The name stuck. The Salvation Army helped the poor using the three S's - soup, soap, and salvation. In 1891, Captain Joseph McFee set out to help the poor and marginalized in San Francisco, California, USA. Captain McFee had remembered during his early days as a sailor in Liverpool, England seeing a large kettle called “Simpson's Pot”. This kettle was used to raise funds to help the poor. The slogan was “Keep the Pot Boiling”. Captain McFee placed a kettle at the Oakland Ferry Landing in San Francisco. The kettle collected enough funds to have Christmas dinner for the poor that year. Word caught on amongst the Salvation Army ranks and before you knew it the kettle was being used everywhere. Now the kettle has evolved into a plastic bubble or a website; but the campaign continues year after year raising funds for Christmas dinners and programs which help the poor and marginalized throughout the year.

At the Salvation Army Caring Place shelter in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada the cold weather has pushed the shelter to its limits. The demand for the meal program continues to accelerate. The Caring Place serves between 175 to 180 meals per night. The cold wet weather draws at risk people in to enjoy a hot meal and a bed if needed. This is just one example. The Salvation Army has centres all over the world facing similar challenges.

Whether you drop cash in a Salvation Army Christmas Kettle or donate online you are helping the poor and marginalized in our society. Who are the marginalized? The marginalized are the people who in most cases are unable to help themselves because of social issues like drug addiction and unemployment. The mentally ill are marginalized because of the social stigma associated to mental illness.

The founder and first General of the Salvation Army preached this battle cry in a challenge to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight, I'll fight to the very end!”

--General William Booth of the Salvation Army

If you would like to help raise funds by volunteering or donating money you can find help on this website: or . You will have to use the drop down menu so your donation will go to your local Salvation Army programs or wherever you feel the need is greatest. It's up to you.

History of The Salvation Army


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