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Salvation Army opens Christmas kettle drive
new deh salvation army logo

A history of the Red Kettle

In December, 1891, A Salvation Army officer in San Francisco, Capt. Joseph McFee, started to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor. His remembered his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. On the stage landing he saw a large pot, called “Simpson’s pot” into which charitable donations were thrown by passers-by.
The next morning, he got permission to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing. A brass urn was placed on a stand in the waiting room for the same purpose.
This launched a tradition that spread around the world. Kettles now are used in Korea, Japan, Chile and in many European countries.
Some of the new kettles have such devices as a self-ringing bell and a booth complete with public address system over which traditional Christmas carols are broadcast. Credit card kettles were introduced in the United States several years ago and are becoming more widespread.

The Salvation Army in Barton County is about ready to paint the town red as it officially opens its annual Christmas Red Kettle Campaign today. With the theme “Doing the Most Good” and a goal of $15,000, the effort runs through Christmas Eve.
“There is definitely more of a need now,” said Great Bend Salvation Army Store Manager Jane Berg. The program raises money for the less fortunate.
As Berg spoke, a ringer was already manning a kettle. But, she said, the big kick-off takes place Saturday.
As a highlight, United Way of Central Kansas volunteers will set up at Wal-mart with teams set up at both doors engaged in a friendly competition from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see who can raise the most money. This marks the third year UW has taken a shift to help one of its member agencies.
There will be kettles set up at nine locations. There are seven in Great Bend (both Dillons stores, JC Penny, Waters True Value Hardware, Walgreens and two at Wal-mart), one in Ellinwood (Ellinwood Family Foods) and one in Hoisington (Town and Country Food Market).
So, Berg said, she needs volunteers to ring bells for shifts of just a few hours. “I’ll take as many as I can get.”
In addition, there will be counter-top kettles at businesses throughout the county.
Salvation Army officials said any contribution will help, and donations of time are accepted as well as donations of money. “Reaching out to those in need by volunteering to ring bells or serve warm meals is a wonderful way to connect with the community, to give back, and to share blessings and holiday joy,” said Berg.
The money raised stays in the Barton County area and will help fund the Salvation Army’s local school backpack program, pay for rent and utilities for the needy and cover the cost of other services. “This economy is still making it a rough year for many families, and we’ve the impact with the number of folks seeking assistance,” Berg said.
It is especially hard during the holiday season, she said. “That’s why the Salvation Army looks to our community for its generosity: so we can show that same compassion and kindness to the less fortunate.”
Anyone wishing to donate by credit card may call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Checks may be mailed to the Salvation Army, attention Berg, 2545 10th St. Great Bend, Ks, 67530. For more information, call 1-800-336-4547, dial “0” and ask for Mary Scott.
For more information, call Berg at 620-792-4299.