Tony’s story

Dear Santa,

Traditions are important to the fabric of good will during the Christmas season. Of course, you know first hand the tradition of good will you spread throughout the world this time of year.  Not quite as popular but also known throughout the world is The Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle. This tradition came from a humble beginning.

The Salvation Army Captain in San Francisco had resolved, in December of 1891, to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor.  But how would he pay for the food? As he went about his daily tasks, the question stayed in his mind. Suddenly his thoughts went back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. On the Stage Landing he saw a large pot, called “Simpson’s pot” into which charitable donations were thrown by passers-by.

He had his way of paying for the food.  The next morning he secured permission from the authorities to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing.

No time was lost in securing a spot, so that it could be seen by all those going to and from the ferry boats. In addition, a brass urn was placed on a stand in the waiting room for the same purpose.

Thus, Captain Joseph McFee launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but also around the world.

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

Everywhere, public contributions to the kettles enable The Salvation Army to bring the spirit of Christmas to those who would otherwise be forgotten.

Times have changed but needs have not.  The message of The Salvation Army also has not changed — “Sharing is Caring” and that “Need Knows No Season.”

The Salvation Army is here to help those in need. It is able to help those in need, in part, through the efforts of the Christmas kettle tradition.

Save travels, Santa.