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Origin of the Christmas Kettle

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About Us - Origin of the Christmas Kettle

The tradition of Salvation Army kettles began in San Francisco in 1891 with Captain Joseph McFee. Captain McFee was looking for a way to help provide meals to families in need and recalled "Simpson's pot" - a large pot used in Liverpool, England into which passers-by threw charitable donations. Captain McFee decided to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing. By strategically placing the kettle, he was able to attract donations from those going to and from the ferry boats. Not long after, a smaller urn was placed in the waiting area as well.

Now, over 100 years have passed and instead of providing just a simple Christmas dinner, the money raised at kettles is also used to provide clothing, shelter, toys, financial assistance and counseling year-round. The Salvation Army's holiday fund-raising activities play a crucial role in sharing the spirit of the season with families in need. The Salvation Army does its best to ensure that no family goes without food, no child is without presents under the tree and that Christmas is a time of hope and healing.

The Salvation Army continues its mission to "preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination" year-round.


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