Red Kettle History

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome -- funding the project.


Where would the money come from, he wondered. He lay awake nights, worrying, thinking, praying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding 1,000 of the city's poorest individuals on Christmas Day. As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling." He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for many years. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.


Captain McFee's kettle idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. Kettles are now used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries. Everywhere, public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to continue its year-round efforts at helping those who would otherwise be forgotten.

St. Clair County Kettle Sites

The following is a list of  the locations where you can donate to the Red Keetle Campain in St. Clar County. All donations stay within St. Clare County, distributed back though various service programs at the Port Huron Salvation Army.

This 2015 Christmas Goal is $405,000

You can donate with your cell phone by texting CHANGE to 71777.

Outside Kettle Sites

Counter Top Kettle Sites

JC Penny
Hobby Lobby
ACE Hardware
Big Lots
Sams Club
Kroger Algonac
Marine City K-Mart
Neiman's Family Market
Gordon Food Service

Backyard Soaps
Beverage Barrel
Big Boy
Big Boy Marysville
Cavis Grill
Cheap Charlie's
Dairy Queen - North
Dairy Queen - South
Daybreak Inn
Four Star
Jimmy John's
Jimmy John's
Joe's Party Store
Kerr Albert
Lakeport Market
Lil Caesar's Marysville
Little Caesar's North
Little Caesar's South
Little Grocery
Mama Vicki's Coney Island - North
Mary Maxim
Nick's Four Roses
Pollack Randall Funeral Home
Red Pepper
Shear Madness
Spirit Shoppe
St. Clair Coney Island
Steis's Village Inn
Ted's Coney Island - North
Ted's Coney Island - South
Theo's Restaurant
Van's Handy Market
Vollmer's - Wadhams
Acme Locksmith
Lexington General Store
Michigan Precision
Old Country Café
Towne Shoppe
Wadhams Country Kitchen