Salvation Army to kick off annual holiday fundraiser Thursday, Nov. 11


PIQUA — The Piqua Salvation Army will hold their annual Red Kettle Kick-Off at the Miami Valley Centre Mall on Thursday, Nov. 11 at noon.

“It’s the official start of the 2021 Red Kettle Campaign, which is Salvation Army’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The red kettle you see in front of Kroger and Wal-Mart primarily raise substantial amount of money for our budget for the next operating year, so it’s very important it goes well,” Salvation Army Major Herb Carter said.

The Red Kettle fundraiser first started with a soup kettle in San Francisco in 1891. Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee strived to provide a free Christmas dinner for the poor and poverty-stricken in the area but had to find a way to fund the project. He ended up taking inspiration from Stage Landing in Liverpool, England — where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passers-by tossed in coins to help the poor.

By 1897, the kettle idea spread from San Francisco to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide provided 150,000 Christmas dinners for those in need. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for a large sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, which continued for several years.

Today in the U.S., the Salvation Army assists more than 4.5 million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods. In Piqua, the money tossed into red kettles around the city provide the majority of funding for various programs the organization offers to those in need in the community. Programs include a pantry that provides items that can’t be obtained with SNAP cards, a mobile feeding program, utility assistance, a summer camp program for youth, tending to needs in senior and nursing homes, and assisting with disaster relief. Last year, the Piqua Salvation Army collected $64,000 from those who donated spare change to the kettles.

“My goal is always to do a dollar more than what we do last year. I’m going to try and one-up my friend Major Kramer,” Carter said.

Thursday’s event will also kick off the Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree program, which provides new clothing and toys for children of families in need through the support of donors. Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tages with the first name, age and gender of a child in need of presents. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree and purchase appropriate gifts for the child or children described on the tags.

Those interested in helping the Salvation Army during the holiday season can donate to the Red Kettle fundraiser at locations such as the Piqua Kroger, the Piqua and Troy Wal-Mart locations, Piqua Big Lots and the Miami Valley Centre Mall, drop off donations in-person or mail them to the Piqua Salvation Army location at 129 S. Wayne St., or donate directly at All donations made electronically stay in the Piqua community and directly benefit the Piqua Salvation Army.

“It’s very important that we make this goal. This fundraiser sets the tone for all of our programs for the next calendar year, because it will tell us what we have to work with, as far as resources are concerned,” Carter said.

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