The Salvation Army NJ desperately needs Red Kettle bell ringers
🔔 The Salvation Army NJ needs volunteer bell ringers this holiday season
🔔 Its iconic Red Kettle campaign kicks off on Black Friday
🔔 All money raised stays within a community to support vital programs
It’s that time of year.
Starting on Nov. 24, Black Friday, The Salvation Army New Jersey Division will have its bell ringers outside department stores, supermarkets, and other key businesses to kick off its iconic Red Kettle Campaign in support of critical programs that benefit those in need.
Volunteers are desperately needed to be bell ringers across the state, Capt. Alan Porchetti, the corps officer of the Salvation Army in Trenton, said.
The History of the Red Kettle Campaign
The Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s largest fundraiser of the year, Porchetti said.
The story of the campaign began in Christmas 1891in San Francisco, California. Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee used to have a soup kitchen. Unfortunately, the soup kitchen was going to close because there was not enough money to cook meals and feed the entire community.
But McFee refused to close his soup kitchen. He remembered his days as a mariner in England. Boats were docked in a location where there was a large, iron kettle into which passers-by tossed coins to help the poor.
So, McFee placed a similar pot outside his soup kitchen and soon it was filled with enough money to take care of the needy. As the story goes, by Christmas 1895, about 30 Salvation Army Corps on the West Coast were using the collection kettle.
It’s been that way ever since, across the country and into the year 2023.
Where does the money raised from Red Kettle campaigns go?
Every dollar raised from red kettles throughout New Jersey stays within each community. For example, every dollar raised at Trenton Red Kettle locations throughout November and December will stay within the Trenton community, Porchetti said.
Every dollar gets broken down into about 100 pennies. Each penny goes to every different program of the Salvation Army, Porchetti said.
The funds raised, not only help provide holiday meals and gifts to children, who would otherwise go without, but they also benefit year-round services including food pantries, soup kitchens, music and art classes, daycare programs, homeless shelters, and utility and rental assistance, he added.
Last year, over one million dollars was raised from the iconic Red Kettle campaign throughout New Jersey. Porchetti said he hopes even more money will be raised this year.
Red Kettle Volunteers
Red Kettle volunteers play a key role in supporting the Salvation Army’s work to help neighbors in need throughout the state. Volunteers are desperately needed. In 2022, the Salvation Army did not have as many Red Kettle volunteers as it hoped.
To become a Red Kettle volunteer, simply sign up on the website. A corps officer will then get in touch with you to come up with a schedule. The hours are flexible and volunteers can work as many hours as they choose, for the most part.
A Red Kettle volunteer typically raises about $80 per hour, Porchetti said. You can’t miss them as they will be standing guard over the red kettles outside businesses from Black Friday through the end of December, ringing those bells.
Opportunities to ring are available Monday through Saturday throughout November and December across the state, with the most need on Saturdays. Individual volunteer slots are available in locations throughout New Jersey. Company employees, students, families and community groups are also encouraged to sign up as group volunteers.
Ringing the bells is a way of attracting people. “As a matter of fact, the song, “Silver Bells” was written for The Salvation Army. That’s what we’re about. It’s about ringing the bells. It’s also about bringing joy to people. We like to bring some cheer to families. It’s lovely to see children that when they hear the bell they ask their parents if they can have a few cents or a few dollars to put in the bucket,” Porchetti said.
So, when you’re shopping this holiday season, please remember The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. Porchetti said when you come out of a store, please drop some change or a few bucks in the kettle.
“Your donation can change someone’s life,” Porchetti said.
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Gallery Credit: Kristen Accardi