Celebrating 130 Years of Kettles

Nov 9, 2020

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign is one of the most recognizable and important giving traditions in America. Every year from November through Christmas Eve, red buckets and bell ringers can be found outside thousands of storefronts across the country, encouraging people to donate money to those in need.

When you drop a donation into a kettle or give online, you are joining more than a century-long tradition of generosity.

Humble Beginnings

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee placed an empty crab pot outside a San Francisco ferry landing to collect money and provide a free Christmas dinner for the city’s destitute and poverty-stricken. Beside the pot he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” As the boats came in, people passing by tossed a coin or two into the pot and soon he had all the money he needed to provide the holiday meal.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. The effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the poor.

This tradition continues today throughout the U.S. and across the world. Everywhere, public contributions to the red kettles enable us to continue our year-round efforts to help those who would otherwise be forgotten. This year the need is greater than ever and we hope you’ll join us as we rescue Christmas.

Ring in the Red Kettle Season

On Thanksgiving Day, tune into the Cowboys game and watch global entertainer Kane Brown officially kick off the 130th Red Kettle Campaign during his halftime performance.

Join the Fight for Good when you register to ring a bell or donate online.


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