BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is now in full force for this year’s Christmas Season. Beginning on Thanksgiving day volunteers around the United States hold the tradition by standing at storefronts, ringing their bells, and asking patrons to donate for the needy.
The campaign began its tradition in 1891 when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee noticed a great need for assistance for San Francisco’s poverty-stricken population and wanted to make sure everyone had a Christmas dinner. McFee remembered from years earlier, when he had been stationed in Liverpool, England, a large kettle being placed at ‘Stage Landing,’ where boats came in to harbor, that passersby dropped coins in to help the poor.
By the next day, McFee was putting his plan into motion, a plan that has lasted for 123 years. According to the Salvation Army’s website, “Kettles are now used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries. Everywhere, public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to continue its year-round efforts at helping those who would otherwise be forgotten.”
Mena Salvation Army Manager Roxanne Aleshire wants to remind everyone to look for local red kettle campaign. ‘Bell Ringers’ and their kettles can be found in front of Walmart, Atwoods and James’ Supersave on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through December 21.. All money donated to the local kettles will remain in Polk County.