Bells ring to feed needy during holidays
by Paisley Boston
Dec 04, 2013 | 1341 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Cleveland shopper drops a few coins into the kettle before going into the store. A little can go along way during The Salvation Army "Red Kettle Campaign."
A Cleveland shopper drops a few coins into the kettle before going into the store. A little can go along way during The Salvation Army "Red Kettle Campaign."
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The Salvation Army has begun its 123rd annual Red Kettle Campaign.

Workers have been ringing huge bells to get the attention of citizens as they migrate to and from various shopping locations.

"We currently have 23 bell ringers throughout Washington County, Sunflower County and Bolivar County. There are three in Bolivar County that are located at Wal-Mart and Kroger," said Corps Sgt. Major Evridge Hollins of The Salvation Army in Greenville.

The campaign began Nov. 22 and will continue until Dec. 24.

"The Salvation Army in Greenville has not set a goal for this year's campaign but we pray to receive at least $150,000," Hollins said.

According to Hollins becoming a bell ringer for the Red Kettle Campaign is not vey hard and the benefits are outstanding.

An individual who desires to become a bell ringer can simply retrieve an application from a local Salvation Army and the selection process begins at the end of October.

"Bell ringers get the chance to take part in helping needy families and they aid in the vitality of The Salvation Army. It feels really good to see people willing to stand in front of stores and ring the bells to help feed their fellow man," said Hollins.

The Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States.

The campaign began in 1891 when an Army captain in San Francisco became distraught after seeing so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry.

He lacked monetary resources to aid in feeding the poor and hungry but he was soon reminded of his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England.

He remembered how at Stage Landing, where boats came in, there was an iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" into which people passing by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area.

That year, the combined efforts nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy.

Today, donations to The Salvation Amy kettles at Christmas time support holiday meals for homeless and needy families and it also helps The Salvation Army serve 30 million people though many services all year long such as disaster response services, social service programs, casework and counseling, youth services, senior centers and Christmas programs.

Kettles now are used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan and Chile and in many European countries.

In the United States, kettles at Thanksgiving and Christmas, although changed since the first utilitarian cauldron set up in San Francisco, help make it possible for The Salvation Army to do the best possible for 30 million people each year.

"For the Christmas holiday, we do not prepare meals but we do pass out food bags – this is application based as well. We try to help individuals who are not as fortunate as much as we possibly can," said Hollins.

For more information about The Salvation Army or to become a volunteer, please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org