History of the Kettles
The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign is one of Canada’s largest and most recognizable annual charitable events. In addition to the critical fundraising impact of the Campaign, the Christmas Kettles boost the Army’s visibility and awareness. In fact, there are more than 2,000 kettle locations across Canada that support a wide range of Salvation Army programs.
For many Canadians, the Christmas Kettles are their only point of contact with The Salvation Army all year. According to public opinion polling, more than half of all Salvation Army donors list “giving to a Christmas Kettle” as their primary method of giving to The Salvation Army.
Furthermore, the Army relies on the co-operation of numerous retail partners to endure the ongoing success of this campaign. Continued goodwill from these retail partners is critical.
For all of these reasons, it is crucial that the Christmas Kettle Campaign be effectively and consistently managed across the country. The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign has raised funds for more than 120 years to meet its demand for services. The Campaign has grown into one of Canada’s most significant and recognizable annual charitable events.
Canada’s first kettle was used in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1906. Today, the familiar kettles and kettle workers (or ‘bell ringers’) are seen in more than 2,000 locations nationwide. For more than 100 years the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign has been a great way for people to help others in need in their local community through the work of The Salvation Army!
Kettle Promotional Video
Christmas Kettle Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Bell Ringer?
A Bell Ringer is someone who stands beside the iconic Salvation Army Christmas Kettle and receives donations from passers-by. They ring bells where permitted to subtly remind people of those in need at Christmas in our community. Kettles are typically located in malls and outside retail stores from mid-November to Christmas Eve.
How much time is required?
Bell Ringers typically stand by a kettle 2 to 4 hours at both indoor and outdoor locations. Ideally, it is best if volunteers commit to 8 to 10 hours throughout the course of the Christmas Kettle Campaign which runs from mid-November to Christmas Eve.
What is the Christmas Kettle Campaign?
The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign is a fundraising effort that occurs each year during the Christmas season. Kettles are found in 2000 locations across Canada and are an opportunity for the public to donate whatever funds they can to support the work of The Salvation Army during the Christmas season and throughout the year.
The tradition of Salvation Army kettles began in San Francisco in 1891 with Captain Joseph McFee. Captain McFee was looking for a way to help provide meals to families in need and recalled the “Simpson’s pot” – a large pot used in Liverpool, England into which passers-by threw charitable donations. Captain McFee decided to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing. By strategically placing the kettle, he was able to attract donations from those going to and from the ferry boats.
Now, over 100 years have passed and beyond providing Christmas dinners, the money raised at kettles is also used to provide clothing, shelter, food, toys, financial assistance and counselling year-round. The Salvation Army’s holiday fund-raising activities play a crucial role in sharing the spirit of the season with families in need. The Salvation Army does its best to ensure that no family goes without food, no child is without presents under the tree and that Christmas is a time of hope and healing.
What happens to the money raised?
For too many Canadians, the necessities of life needed for basic human dignity are out of reach. Poverty is the root cause that puts dignity out of reach for millions of Canadians, making access to everyday needs, like food, clothing and shelter, difficult.
Funds raised through donations made at Christmas kettles, together with other sources of funds, help provide direct, compassionate, hands-on service to 1.6 million people each year in Canada, restoring hope and dignity to those who might otherwise remain invisible in society.
How does The Salvation Army determine where the funds raised will be used?
While Salvation Army Christmas kettles can be found all across Canada, and around the world, each Christmas kettle location is organized and managed by a local Salvation Army unit. The funds raised stay in the community in which they were donated and are used to support local Salvation Army programs for people in need.