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Red Kettles and Volunteers

Click this button to sign up to become a VOLUNTEER Bell Ringer. You can Register individually or as a GROUP. Currently we are accepting sign up for Saturday dates only; but that may change as needed. ALSO Please visit our "Events" and "Volunteer" tabs for more information.

The Red Kettle is possibly the most recognized icon of The Salvation Army. It is almost impossible to miss seeing someone ringing a bell and collecting donations during the Holiday Season.
  Red Kettle Facts:
  • 85% - 90% of kettle workers are paid employees who earn minimum wage, and only 10% - 15% are volunteers. Although it is ideal to staff kettles with as many volunteers as possible to keep expenses at a minimum, the paid kettle worker position provides an opportunity for those who might not be employed elsewhere. In other words, the paid position is actually another service that The Salvation Army provides to allow individuals to provide Christmas cheer for their families.
  • The Red Kettle Campaign starts just prior to Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas Eve.
  • A "typical" kettle can generate as much as $450.00 on a given day. However, depending on location some kettles can raise much more.
  • Most donations consist of cash and coins, but occasionally we receive personal checks, and foreign currency, (not to mention the buttons, paper clips, vitamins, and pocket lint that also make their way into the Red Kettles).
  • All donations received in Palm Beach County stays in Palm Beach County supporting local programs offered throughout the year.
  • 82-cents of every dollar received goes directly to programming.
  • Many Bell-Ringers, who have enjoyed their experience manning a kettle, are repeat workers and/or Volunteers.
  • Some Service groups turn bell-ringing into a fun competition; seeing who can raise the most money in a given day.
History of the Red Kettle:
  • The Red Kettle's career as a fundraiser began in 1891 when a Salvation Army officer, Captain Joseph McFee, resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner to the poor of San Francisco. From his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England, the captain remembered a large pot displayed on the Stage Landing, called "Simpson's Pot." Passersby tossed charitable donations into the pot.
  • Captain McFee received permission from city authorities to place a crab pot and tripod at the Oakland ferry landing at the foot of San Francisco's Market Place. The kettle - and McFee's request to "Keep the Pot Boiling!" - drew a lot of attention from ferry passengers. So began a tradition that spread throughout the United States, then the world.
  • Kettles are now used around the world, including Japan, Chile and Europe. Public contributions to the kettles enable The Salvation Army to bring the spirit of Christmas to the aged and lonely, ill, poor and disadvantaged, inmates of jail and other institutions -- people otherwise often forgotten.