SANDPOINT – Salvation Army volunteers will be bringing the bright red kettles to area grocery stores starting Friday.
The kettle ride will run from November 26 to December 24.
All donations collected will remain in Bonner County. The Salvation Army not only provides assistance with emergency needs, but gives an annual back-to-school giveaway in the fall, said Glenna Roberts of The Salvation Army.
90% of the funds raised during this year’s Red Kettle campaign will remain local to provide emergency aid to many injured people, not just at Christmas but throughout the year, Roberts said.
They provide vouchers for Big 5 shoes, backpacks with school supplies, underwear and socks. In the fall, dental products were also included thanks to donations from Anderson Dental.
Anyone interested is welcome to participate as there is always a need for ringers, Roberts said. They still have openings in all four grocery stores. The hours are set in one hour increments from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the days are Friday and Saturday until the week before Christmas.
The Christmans bell ringing week will be daily until Christmas Eve. If you’re interested, call Roberts at 208-263-8598.
At the close of the shift, the bell ringers are required to clean up the site and prepare for the arrival of the next volunteer. If the next shift does not show up or if it is the last shift, volunteers are encouraged to bring the equipment back to the designated area and ensure the kettle is transported to a secure area. to be retrieved, Roberts said.
Let your coordinator know about any issues on the site as soon as possible, she added.
The Red Kettle at Christmas began in 1981 when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee decided to serve a free Christmas dinner to the poor in San Francisco, California. He prayed how he could afford to provide all the food for such a big project.
He thought back to his days on the waterfront in Liverpool, England, where a popular local restaurant collected cash donations for the poor in a large soup kettle called “Simpson’s Pot”.
McFee wasted no time in obtaining the largest soup kettle he could find and placing it in a prominent location on the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Passengers going and returning from ferries tossed loose change in the kettle, and it wasn’t long before McFee had enough money to pay for Christmas dinner.
Thus began a Christmas tradition that has spread around the world and continues today.