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Manual RedEye

12 Days of Manual: The Salvation Army rings your bells

12+Days+of+Manual%3A+The+Salvation+Army+rings+your+bells

From the bellringers outside of Walmart to the donation buckets in malls, the Salvation Army collects donations each year during the Christmas season to help those who are in need. They also help year round in several other different capacities.

The Salvation Army Red Kettles are set up each year at stores across the city, typically accompanied by bellringers, some of whom are volunteers or are paid. in order to provide money for  people who are in need during this giving season.


Volunteers are continuously added and needed to keep the Red Kettle Campaign going. Nearly 80 percent of the money raised in the kettles are given back to the community either through programs like Angel Tree or donated to local hospitals and nursing homes.

According to their website, “Eighty-two cents of every dollar donated to The Salvation Army goes directly to funding Salvation Army initiatives. And all the money stays within the community in which it was given.”

Sheila Jones volunteers for the Salvation Army at a local Kroger in Louisville. She described the program as a way to give back to her community.

“This is my fourth year participating in the Red Kettle campaign. We are all called to help the less fortunate around us and volunteering is just a step up from donating,” Jones said.

In Louisville, the Salvation Army facilitates an Angel Tree program where donors adopt an “angel” who needs food, clothing or both around Christmas. Donors purchase the items needed for the child and volunteers will bundle the donations together and deliver them.

Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys partnered together to quadruple-match any donations of $21 up to $21,000 each.

Over 7,000 children participate in the Angel Tree program each year. In 2017, the Salvation Army raised $149.6 million, provided Christmas presents for 3.2 million people and served 55 million meals in the United States.

The current annual report is below, however, information is missing from the Christmas season since about 33% of total yearly donations to The Salvation Army come through the Red Kettle campaign.

Aside from Christmas, the Salvation Army is most notable for their work with disaster relief, including their partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help those affected by natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes.

The first red kettle was set up in 1891 by the Salvation Army Capt. Joseph McFee with a goal to provide a Christmas dinner for the “destitute and poverty-stricken.”

McFee pondered how he would pay for the meal, however, and spent many sleepless nights pondering how he would achieve his goal. Eventually, he remembered that one familiar port in England had an iron kettle set up, known as the “Simpson’s Pot” where people gave money to the poor.

According to the Salvation Army’s website, “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.”

That year, the Salvation Army was able to feed 150,000 people Christmas dinner and now the Salvation Army operates in 130 countries and annually assists 25 million Americans.

Featured Image Citation: Salvation Army by Kullez is licensed on Flickr with CC BY 2.0. No changes were made to the original image. Use of this photo does not indicate photographer endorsement. For a full link to the license, click here.

About the Contributor
Reece Gunther, Editor-in-Chief
Reece Gunther was a co-Editor-in-Chief of Manual RedEye for the 2019-20 staff. He enjoys spreading kindness, helping the less fortunate and promoting laughter. You can often find him listening to podcasts or exploring the world around him, from parks to volunteer opportunities. You can contact him at [email protected]
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    Taylor HansenJan 4, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    It’s interesting to learn about the campaigns for the Salvation Army and the partners. I’m wanting to donate to the Salvation Army so I can do some charity this year. I’ll look into the program and find out how I can help out. https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/

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