It's an all too familiar picture. We will soon be out doing our holiday shopping and at every store there will be someone ringing a bell and holding a red kettle. Do you drop in your change, or look the other way and walk on by? Before you walk on by, think about what this kettle represents.
The tradition started in 1891 when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was trying to raise enough money to feed 1000 of San Francisco's poorest citizens a Christmas Dinner. He set a kettle at the Oakland Ferry Landing with a sign that read "Keep the pot Boiling." He soon had the money he needed to provide the Cristmas Dinner.
Currently the kettles are used across the US as well as Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries. Just a few cents can help. Each year, in the US alone, these funds assist with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for over four and a half million people who otherwise would be without.
Can you spaare some change?
I like to use the opportunity to teach my kids that there are some less fortunate than us, and that part of being a nice person is doing what we can to help. I always have loose change and allow the kids to put the money in the kettles. I really think it makes them feel good, even if they do not yet fully understand the magnitude of the need they are contributing to.