Red Kettle campaign wrapping up

GLOVERSVILLE — The bells of the Salvation Army of Fulton County’s Red Kettle Drive will be ringing for two more days as the agency raises funds it uses all year round.

Lt. Mark Devanney said the final push for the kettle drive will go on today and Saturday. He said the agency is hoping to reach its goal this weekend.

Devanney said the army won’t be able to do the drive on Christmas Eve as they normally do since it falls on a Sunday, a day the army does not do the Red Kettles on.

Red Kettles will be set up at places such as Price Chopper, Walmart, Ace Hardware in Johnstown and Pebbles at the Johnstown Mall around the area.

Lt. Ann Marie Devanney said she often sees people’s generosity this time of year at the kettle. She gave the example of a Rotarian who always searches for change when he sees a Red Kettle, since he couldn’t pass up a chance to donation.

“It’s because when he was a kid one of the reasons he had a Christmas is because of the Salvation Army. And now he is an adult and whatever he is able to give back he does,” Devanney said.

The funds raised through the Red Kettle drives are used in the food program, clothing assistance, food pantry, soup kitchen and after-school program, services the Salvation Army of Fulton County does throughout the year.

In the city, the Salvation Army has been in operation since 1885, helping those in need through a soup kitchen, food pantry and emergency assistance through its 10 Spring St. location and After School Program annex at 3 Spring St.

The International Red Kettle tradition began in 1891 in San Francisco, according to the Salvation Army’s National website. Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. Needing money for the project, McFee remembered his days as a sailor in England, and used the idea of ‘Simpson’s Pot’ he saw. Passers-by would toss coins into the pot to help the poor, and McFee used the idea to help raise funds.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for many years. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.

Kettle drives are held in Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries. Donations have helped serve 59 million meals, provide 10.6 million warm beds and give Christmas toys and gifts to 4.5 million people.

Donors can also give by texting the word “KETTLE” to 80888 to give $10 to the national campaign. To give online for the local Red Kettle drive go to: www.redkettlereason.org.

Donations can be made to the Empire State Division at empire.salvationarmy.org.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

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