10 Things You May Not Know About The Salvation Army
- The Salvation Army was founded in London, England, in 1865 by former Methodist minister William Booth. Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message of spiritual salvation directly to the people – in particular the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute of Victorian-era London.
- The Annual Red Kettle Campaign began in 1891 in San Francisco when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee set up a crab pot at Oakland Ferry Landing to collect money to feed 1,000 of the poor on Christmas Day. Captain McFee encouraged passersby to drop coins in the pot to help the poor. Thus, the idea for the Red Kettles was born.
- Red Kettle volunteers didn’t become bell ringers until 1900, when a young cadet named Amelia from New York City bought a 10-cent bell to ring. The bell was a huge success and drew attention and donations from those who passed. Not long after, all the cadets had bells to ring.
- Now in its 130th year, the Red Kettle Campaign is one of the longest-running and most recognizable fundraising efforts in the world. Red Kettles are now used worldwide and can be found in Korea, Japan, Chile, and throughout Europe.
- For the 2020 Red Kettle Campaign, The Salvation Army started its annual holiday fundraising campaign early in order to rescue Christmas. The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high. People can visit RescueChristmas.org to make a donation to the Red Kettle Campaign and sign up for a sustaining monthly donation. Just $25 a month can help The Salvation Army double its impact on those in need.
- In previous years, approximately 25,000 bell ringers, young and old, brave the elements to help The Salvation Army raise money for local community programs. Year after year, mystery donations are dropped into the Red Kettles ranging from gold coins and diamonds to large cash donations and even wedding rings. This year, The Salvation Army is adopting nationally mandated safety protocols for physical kettles to ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors, and partners.
- The Salvation Army’s nationwide Pathway of Hope initiative provides enhanced services to families with children desiring to take action to break the cycle of crisis and intergenerational poverty. By 2030, through the Pathway of Hope, The Salvation Army will make a lasting difference in reducing intergenerational poverty by transforming the lives of 100,000 families in the United States.
- National Salvation Army Week, typically observed the second week of May, was first declared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. In the proclamation, Eisenhower noted: “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood...Their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans. Giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”
- The Salvation Army has been responding during and after natural disasters since 1900. Throughout its 140-year ministry, The Salvation Army has delivered programming rooted in hope. Serving more than 30 million Americans a year, the organization helps families living in poverty battle everyday enemies – today, these are exponentially magnified due to COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis. Recently, The Salvation Army has provided more than 40 million meals, provided 667,000 nights of shelter, and 406,000 people have received emotional and spiritual care in person or via our hotline. Although we are in an unprecedented time in our history, facing stark realities is not new for The Salvation Army. For millions of Americans experiencing urgent need, The Salvation Army is their first stop for help.
- In 2005, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton selected The Salvation Army, along with the Rolling Stones, Oxford University, and the Olympic Games, as among the world’s top-ten enduring institutions. We are in good company!
You can help us "Rescue Christmas" in your area! Contact The Salvation Army nearest in your area or donate below to support The Salvation Army. nearest your zip code.