The Salvation Army Santa Fund

Dear Santa,

Have you ever heard the story of how The Salvation Army started the Red Kettles?

The year was 1891, when Joseph McFee, a Salvation Army captain based in San Francisco, California, saw the huge number of poor people within the city and wanted to provide them with a free Christmas meal. It was a simple act that he wanted to give in order to give them hope of a better future. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the money to do so.

McFee prayed for an answer to his dilemma. He thought about days in his past when he was a sailor in England. At Stage Landing, there was a large iron kettle called “Simon’s Pot” that people would throw money in for the needy. And there was his solution! He put a pot at Oakland Ferry Landing by San Francisco’s Market Street with a sign saying, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” With that kettle Joseph was able to feed the hungry that year. The tradition has continued on through the years and continues to help with all of the programs provided by The Salvation Army.

Today, we have volunteers from the local community who stand beside the kettles at local locations, ringing bells. There are volunteers who come each year and help to ring the bells at each location. We also have people who are new volunteers this year.

Something that surprised me was a college student who called asking about more information about the Red Kettle program. He wanted to know what the money was used for and who all could be helped from the funds. He was putting together a project that was trying to convince fellow classmates to volunteer to ring the bells. What a wonderful project to have picked!

Our local Salvation Army does a program called The Red Shield Community Garden. It is a place in the local community run by The Salvation Army for local members and organizations to grow different foods. For me, this represents a little of what Joseph McFee was trying to do: give food to the hungry. The harvest from the garden is used for programs here at the Church. Local non-profit organizations also have a plots there where they grow foods to use at their organizations. We don’t want anyone to go hungry within our community. They are always looking for volunteers and groups to come in and help with the garden.

I was told that you have a black belt in Karate. Is that the one you wear in all the photos?

Keep smiling!

The student intern

Please help by giving generously to the Salvation Army and the Sun-Gazette Santa Fund.

You can help make this a brighter holiday season for local families by making a contribution in person to any branch of M&T Bank or by mail to M&T Bank at 405 River Ave.; at the Salvation Army, 457 Market St.; or the Sun-Gazette office, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.

The Santa Fund is a fundraiser organized by the Sun-Gazette and the Salvation Army to help local families in need.