The Story Behind the Red Kettles…
Suddenly, his thoughts went back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. On the Stage Landing he saw a large pot, called “Simpson’s pot” into which charitable donations were thrown by passers-by.
On the next morning, he secured permission from the authorities to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing, at the foot of Market Street. In addition, a brass urn was placed on a stand in the waiting room for the same purpose. Thus, Captain Joseph McFee launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but throughout the world.
By Christmas, 1895, the kettle was used in 30 Salvation Army Corps in various sections of the West Coast area. Shortly afterward, two young Salvation Army officers who had been instrumental in the original use of the kettle, William A. McIntyre and NJ Lewis, were transferred to the East. They took with them the idea of the Christmas kettle.
In 1898, the New York World hailed The Salvation Army kettles as “the newest and most novel device for collecting money.”
Everywhere, public contributions to the kettle enable The Salvation Army to bring the spirit of Christmas to those who would otherwise be forgotten - to the aged and lonely, the ill, the inmates of jails and other institutions, the poor and unfortunate. In the United States, The Salvation Army annually aids more than 5 million persons at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Behind it all, though, is the same Salvation Army message, “Sharing is Caring.”