In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee initiated the nationwide effort to provide poverty-stricken individuals with Christmas dinners. While contemplating how he could fund the project, McFee’s memory of a large, iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” appeared to be the answer. The next day, he brought a kettle to the local market with a sign that read “Keep the Pot Boiling”.
Six years later, The Salvation Army was able to provide 150,000 Christmas dinners for those in need. In 1901, a sit-down Christmas dinner in Madison Square Garden was made possible by donations from New York City alone. Thus, the Red Kettle Challenge was born.
The Red Kettle Challenge is a fun and engaging way The Salvation Army raises funds and awareness. Both volunteers and benefactors can participate in their own way.
For someone who wants to donate, the challenge goes as so:
Round up $100 (it can be as a group or individually)
Find a local Salvation Army kettle and record your donation
Share your video and challenge others with the hashtag #RedKettleChallenge
For volunteers, “The Salvation Army Commander Commissioner Kenneth Hodder challenged Salvation Army officers, employees, community supporters and the like to raise more funds than him in a four-hour shift [on] December 3rd with the goal to raise $1 million nationally! This challenge provided a fun and engaging opportunity to raise awareness and funds for your local Salvation Army”. In 2021, the National Commander’s Red Kettle Challenge raised $1,107,330.90!
- Jay Servais and Majors Ethan & Sue Frizzel of Nashville, TN raised $276,252
- Captain Claudia Meads of Rocky Mount, NC raised $129,534
- Captain Adolph Aguirre of McAllen, TX raised $107,031
The immense impact The Salvation Army has on the lives within our communities is like no other. Its year-round efforts are more than just a Christmas meal, it provides a day of hope, understanding, and acceptance for people who are not afforded such things on a daily basis. A donation, no matter how big or small, does make a difference to someone, somewhere.