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2018-12-05 / Letters

Salvation Army’s Red Kettle

The Salvation Army Captain in San Francisco decided in December of 1891, to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor persons. He secured permission from the authorities to place a pot at the Oakland ferry landing, at the foot of Market Street in a conspicuous position. Thus, Captain McFee launched a tradition that has spread throughout the world. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first sitdown dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for years. Today, families are given grocery checks so that they can buy and prepare their own dinners at home. The homeless poor are still invited to share holiday dinners and festivities at hundreds of Salvation Army Centers. Public contributions to the kettles enable the Salvation Army to bring the spirit of Christmas to jails, other institutions, the poor and unfortunate. In the United States, The Salvation Army annually aids more than 4,500,000 persons at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kettles have changed since the first cauldron set up in San Francisco. Some new kettles have self-ringing bells and booths with public address systems over which traditional Christmas carols are broadcast. Behind it all, is the same Salvation Army message:

Sharing is Caring.

Ninety percent of the funds collected are used locally to help provide emergency assistance to individuals from Walton and surrounding communities. The services might include - but are not limited to - such things as food, clothing, shelter, medications and utilities.

Need knows no season.

LOIS HODGE

WALTON

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