Ringing for ‘OTHERS!!”
The red kettle story goes back to 1891, when Joseph McFee, a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco, California, was overwhelmed with the number of poor in that city. McFee had a simple idea. He wanted to provide free Christmas dinners to 1,000 of the poorest of those people, to give them some holiday hope. Sadly, he had no money for the meals.
McFee tossed and turned at night, praying and thinking about the problem. Slowly, a solution came. He recalled his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. At Stage Landing, where the ships docked, a large iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" had been placed. People walking by would toss in a coin or two for the needy.
Finding a pot, Captain McFee put it at the Oakland Ferry Landing, by the foot of San Francisco's busy Market Street. He placed a sign next to it that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling."
Word got around quickly, and by Christmas the kettle had raised enough money to feed the poor.
Many years ago, the Founder of The Salvation Army, William booth, then very old, was preparing to send his annual Christmas message to Salvationists around the world. In those days, communication was by telegraph, and you paid for each word that you sent. Times were tough and the Army was short on money, so William Booth sent a one-word telegram conveying the very heart of the Army’s mission.
The word he sent was: