Salvation Army Austin Red Kettles
Ring a Bell and/or Give!

The 2019 Red Kettle campaign is still in locations around Travis and Williamson County until Tuesday, December 24.  We invite you to give this holiday season to help us provide programs and services for the individuals and families who are struggling in our community.

Thank you to our amazing bell ringers this year for being out there in cold and warm extremes of Texas weather.  We are extremely blessed to have people in this community who volunteer for us to continue our mission.  Read Wayne’s Story about his experience with The Salvation Army and get inspired to sign up to ring a bell in Round Rock and give back to your community.

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History of the Salvation Army Red Kettle

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome – funding the project.

Where would the money come from, he wondered. As he went about his daily tasks, the question stayed in his mind: How he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas Day.

As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passersby tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for many years. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists millions of people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.

Captain McFee’s kettle idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. 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.

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