Did you know The Salvation Army's red kettle came into existence more than 120 years ago? In fact, this is its 123rd year with helping feed the hungry and it has grown to help fund social service programs throughout the year.
I was sort of surprised to find out the idea took a bit for it to catch on. In fact, did you know early Salvation Army officers refused to cooperate with the red kettle idea because they were afraid they'd "make spectacles of themselves."
I'm also intrigued how this story continues to evolve with the times. The red kettles aren't only in front of favorite stores where people can plunk some coins or dollar bills in but it's moved into the virtual realm too.
Do you get email yet, Santa? I'm not sure what the reception is there on the North Pole, but here in the south (well, everything is south for you) people can also choose to donate online. And check this, they can start their own online kettle, join someone else's personal online kettle team and even carry the kettle with them on a smart device - all in the name of giving to someone less fortunate.
The red kettle has moved considerably from its early days to being an icon that we see even in the movies and television shows. The campaign sure has spread over the years. Did you know it runs world-wide and helps 30 million people year round? How cool is that?
It's rather neat seeing first hand how the social services helps people in our community. I still smile when I think about a morning I came in sleepy out of bed and looking forward to having the day go by. I'm going through my voicemail and I listen to this exuberant message. My caller was a single mom who just started a job but the costs from an emergency move put her in a difficult spot. We were able to help her with one of our programs.
Amidst all of her thank-yous she said one of her goals was to give back to The Salvation Army. I don't doubt I'll see her do just that. I imagine when she walks by a red kettle now that's she's been on the receiving end, she'll view just a bit differently.
I've heard other stories from some of our volunteers and donors about how The Salvation Army helped them when they needed it and its part of their drive to do their part to support an organization that endeavors to "Do the Most Good."
The red kettle certainly is a symbol of true giving during this holiday season!
Please help by giving generously to the Sun-Gazette and The Salvation Army Santa Fund.
You can 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 Avenue; at The Salvation Army, 457 Market Street; or the Sun-Gazette office, 252 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701.