Salvation Army's Iconic Red Kettles Return for the Season

Nov 2, 2021

The sounds of the season are upon us! The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s iconic Red Kettles made their seasonal debut at our Lake County, Indiana locations on November 1. There, bell ringers began collecting donations at area Strack & Van Til and Cabela’s locations. The Red Kettles will make their appearance throughout Chicago and the suburbs staring Monday, November 8. Those bell ringers will be at area Jewel-Osco and Hobby Lobby stores. 

The Red Kettle campaign kicks off as thousands throughout our service area are still experiencing the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and struggling to stay in their homes. More than 200,000 households in Illinois and more than 85,000 households in Indiana are behind on rent, according to Policy Link. The Salvation Army has seen an increase in requests for emergency financial assistance in the last 18 months, a need that’s only expected to grow substantially since the lifting of the state’s eviction moratorium last month.

“The Salvation Army remains committed to assisting everyone who comes through our doors,” said Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. “But, we can only do it with the generosity of the community. Your donation to the Red Kettles could mean the difference between a family being able to cover the rent, keep the lights and heat on, and stay in their homes. We need your help to ensure hope marches on for those in need this year.”

In addition to emergency assistance, the money raised in the kettles will fund nearly 50 social service programs throughout the year, including food pantries, after-school programs, and shelter for the homeless. Seventy percent of The Salvation Army’s donations for the entire year are made during the Christmas season.

Similar to last year, bell ringers will be required to follow strict guidelines to ensure their safety and the safety of donors, including wearing face masks, maintaining six feet of distance from donors who approach the kettle, and encouraging contactless donations. Signs on the kettles will be equipped with Apple Pay and Google Pay technology, and for the first time this year, Venmo and PayPal, enabling donations with the tap of a smartphone.

In addition to the retail locations already mentioned, Red Kettles will be placed outside of Walmart stores on Nov. 20 and area Walgreens and Macy’s locations on Nov. 26.

Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Donations can be made at the kettles or online at Volunteer bell ringers are needed, and are invited to sign up at Another option for collecting donations is through the creation of a Virtual Red Kettle online at

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