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Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Famous Red Kettle

Spending time on the internet often is a great source for information and sometimes can be just a lot of fluff. One evening I received a private message from a Facebook friend, Lois Gehres, asking if I would like to be a bell ringer for The Salvation Army Red Kettle project. Lois is one of the coordinators. I jumped at the opportunity. This was on my bucket list and I found this a fulfilling experience.

I could hardly wait until my appointed time. I even laid out my warm clothes the night before. I got out my cuddle duds, my Alaskan fur boots and my snowman scarf and mittens. The day was in the 20's and there was light snow. It was perfect! I was assigned a 9-10 AM shift at our local WalMart. It wasn't real busy at that early hour. Being a people person, I find people very interesting. I loved every minute of it. My replacement was right on cue. Our local Major Art Barter stopped to introduce himself. He was delightful. The hour went very fast. I hope to be asked again next year.

Major Arthur Barter and JD Brewer

Red Kettle History

The Salvation Army was established in England in 1865 by itinerant Methodist minister, William Booth and his wife Catherine. It was in 1891 that a Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee became aware of the poor in San Francisco that were going hungry.  Seeing this he was compelled to give free meals on Christmas for those in need. There would need to be funds to finance this. He laid awake at nights praying how he would be able to feed upwards of 1000 people. He remembered in his sailor days in Liverpool, England at Stage Landing where boats came in, there was an iron kettle called " Sampson's Pot" that people threw in coins to aid the poor. This inspired Captain McFee to place a pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing. Beside the pot he posted a sign that read, "Keep The Pot Boiling". Doing this he met his goal and fed the needy for that Christmas.

Six years later this idea spread from the west coast to Boston, Massachusetts. Nationwide there were 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. By 1901 Kettle donations in New York City provided sit down dinners at Madison Square Garden. This custom continued for many years.

Today in the United States assistance is given to four and a half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. Captain McFee's Kettle project spread through out the United States and spread to many foreign countries. Through this project the Salvation Army Kettles allow this origination to engage in helping those who might otherwise be forgotten. One particular example is supplying Christmas for children.

Bell ringers average $30 per hour. In 2 hours bell ringers can raise enough money to feed a family of four with groceries for a week. This is amazing.

If you have loose change or money to share, drop it in the Kettle. It is a very worth while organization to support. Put some of your extra change in your coat pocket and excite a bell ringer.

New Location

Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

   Merry Christmas