19 December 2023

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle

The Christmas Kettle takes on many forms around the world and is a beacon of hope for millions of people who receive the support and services that The Salvation Army provides throughout the year.

Originating in the United States of America (USA) in the late 19th century, the brainchild of Captain Joseph McFee, the Christmas Kettle emerged as a response to those facing hardship during the festive season.

Witnessing the struggles that people were enduring, including homelessness and hunger, Captain Joseph drew inspiration from his days as a sailor in the British port of Liverpool, where he encountered ‘Simpson’s pot’, which was a large, iron kettle that was used as a collection pot for donations for the needy. Adapting this idea in the USA, in 1891 he placed a similar receptacle at the Oakland Ferry Landing in California, and was successful in collecting funds to feed the poor during Christmas.

The idea proved to be a major triumph, so Captain Joseph encouraged other Salvation Army territories to try this concept, and by 1895 the Christmas Kettle was being used to raise money in 30 regions across the West Coast of the USA.

A Christmas Kettle in Norway
A Christmas Kettle in Norway

Today, the Christmas Kettle campaign remains a symbol of hope, with compassion and generosity at the core of the tradition.

We can often get caught up in our own lives during the festive period and forget to think of those less fortunate. Christmas and the winter season can be a difficult time of year for many, so this can be an opportune moment for you to think about how you can spread hope in your community and to those in need. This might be through a small act of kindness or volunteering in your local Salvation Army corps.

For more information about what your local Salvation Army territory is doing, please click through to find your local region’s website.

IHQ Communications

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