Red Kettle Campaign

The History of the Red Kettle

In 1891, a Salvation Army Captain in San Francisco placed a large pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing hoping to collect donations in order to provide a free Christmas Dinner to those in need. This tradition quickly caught on, enabling The Salvation Army to provide holiday dinners to the homeless and poor, groceries for struggling families and toys for children that would otherwise go without.

Every year, with the help of Christmas kettles, The Salvation Army aids more than 3 million individuals at Thanksgiving and Christmas. While now Salvation Army kettles can be found online, traditional kettles remain a valuable way to support the neediest members of your community.

How You Can Help

The Salvation Army is encouraging its supporters to share their motivations for giving using the hashtag #RedKettleReason, whether it is to help feed families or to ensure all kids have a safe place to sleep.

Participating take 3 easy steps:

  1. Write your reason an a sheet of paper, dry erase or chalk board (or any other creative way to display your message) making sure to end your statement with #RedKettleReason.
  2. Take a picture with your statement.
  3. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #RedKettleReason and and #SalArmySocal.

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Repeat if you have more than one reason for donating your time and money to the kettles. You can also tweet your #RedKettleReason to be featured on

This holiday season help make our traditional red kettle digital by setting up an online red kettle at! Select a specific community and cause you would like to support, then share your #RedKettleReason with friends and family to raise donations. Anyone can host an online red kettle and setting up an account is fast and easy!

Thanks in part to volunteers like you, The Salvation Army is recognized as one of the most efficient organizations in the world. One of the great ways to give back during the holidays is to be a volunteer bell ringer. Kettles are out Monday through Saturday. We encourage volunteers to play instruments, sing carols, and spread the joy of the season while collecting donations!

It's easy to get lost in the hectic daily schedule of our lives and it's nice to step out of the office and have a reminder of how we are truly blessed. Whether it's for a few hours during a work day or weekend, volunteering with one's coworkers and friends is a great way to appreciate our jobs and it is a great way to show the community how multifaceted our workplace can be.

In lieu of trading gifts at your company's holiday party - opt for a way to give back! We can set-up a red kettle at your company's party to easily allow for your employees to do the most good and share their blessings, while celebrating the holiday season!

To view other current volunteer opportunities, please click here.

Kettle donations are utilized to support The Salvation Army's work to help the less fortunate in communities across America at Christmas time and throughout the year. Gifts stay in the community in which they're donated.

If you have any questions, please contact Amy Hudson by calling (562) 264-3826 or emailing