We’ve seen it for many years: people standing outside local malls, and shopping centers next to a red kettle, ringing a bell; the large, red and white poster-sign notifying passers-by that the Salvation Army was asking for donations. The scene was only seen around the Christmas holiday seasons, but would give happiness and hope many for days to come after the holidays were over. The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign continues, and with a goal of nearly $8 million dollars for the 2010 seasonal year.
Started in 1891, by The Salvation Army’s captain Joseph McFee in San Francisco, the Red Kettle Campaign was an idea McFee seen as a need to help poverty stricken families during the holiday season. The idea became a plan, and after discovering the final piece to the plan – how to fund his idea, McFee got the ball to rolling. Thus, the first appearance of the [pot] kettle. The kettle traveled across the coast over the course of six years, and McFee’s project had sprouted enough to provide 150,000 Christmas dinners during the sixth year.
The international, charitable organization was started by William and Catherine Booth in 1865, and was first titled The Christian Mission based in United Kingdom. The Salvation Army works throughout 121 countries, and standing with a quasi-military structure, its mission is: “evangelical organization dedicated to bringing people into a meaningful relationship with God through Christ…”
The Army is at war with evil. The evil facing society for the Booths and the Mission would be alcoholism, smoking, illegal drugs, and gambling. It wasn’t until the organization grew and began spreading into the United States, that the fight expanded against social evil.
There is no found recordings of when The Salvation Army’s kettle officially turned to the color of red, but the symbol is well known, and is a great symbol of hope today.
Proof of the growth of this symbol is displayed in Detroit with a huge red kettle display, stationed within Campus Martius Park, in parts with the Red Kettle Campaign started earlier this month. It’s almost a sigh of relief to witness through all the downfalls Detroit has had as a whole – trouble within the ‘Big 3’; scandal of a mayor, along with other corruptive events, and through it all, charity still lives strong beyond it all.
Amazing how a city full of economic despair, has heart enough to raise nearly $8 million for charity … talk about building your treasures in heaven.