Back in 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee
resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for San Francisco’s many poor. He
had one major hurdle to overcome:
How would he pay for the food?
He lay awake nights, worrying and praying about
how he would find the funds to fulfill his commitment to feeding the city’s
most destitute. From his days as a sailor in England, the captain remembered a
large pot, called a “Simpson’s Pot,” into which passersby would toss charitable
The next day, Captain McFee placed a similar pot
at Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco. Beside
the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had the
money to make sure people in need were properly fed at Christmas.
Captain McFee’s kettle idea launched a tradition
that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the
Today, public contributions to the kettles enable
The Salvation Army to bring the spirit of Christmas to people who would
otherwise be forgotten — to the aged and lonely, the ill, the inmates of jails
and other institutions, the poor and less fortunate.
Wherever you see our Red Kettles, let them remind
you of what a difference your contributions mean for the poor. And if you can,
please make a donation today, so we can help even more struggling people.
Thank you, and may God bless you!