It’s a sign that the holidays are here: big red kettles, the sounds of bells ringing and a kind bellringer wishing me a “Merry Christmas.”
The 2012 Salvation Army Kettle Campaign is officially underway and we hope to raise $650,000 this year. The goal is bigger this year because we are helping more people. The Salvation Army is providing food baskets to 4,200 families. We have 8,570 children on our Angel Trees, an increase of more than 1,000 from 2011. We’re also providing assistance to 591 Elder Angels.
The new Reasor’s in Bixby (which has a terrific salad and hot bar, by the way) helped us kick off our kettle campaign in a big way. After unveiling our $650,000 goal, store manager Anthony Fulfaro announced Reasor’s was matching donations on the first day of kettle ringing, up to $5,000. Reasor’s customers were very generous, helping us bring in $6,520.01 on our first day!
Major Taylor also explained the history behind the red kettle and how it became a fixture at Christmastime. In 1891, Captain Joseph McFee started a tradition to provide a free meal to the less fortunate on Christmas Day. From his days of being a sailor, he remembered seeing a big pot being used to take in donations on the streets of Liverpool, England. Captain McFee got permission to try this idea in San Francisco and used the call of “Keep the Pot Boiling” to draw in passengers and donations.
Many people say they feel good when they drop money into one of the red kettles. A full kettle warms the hearts of those who are giving – and receiving.