What is a Bell Ringer?
A Bell Ringer is someone who stands beside the iconic Salvation Army Christmas Kettle and receives donations from passers-by. They ring bells where permitted to subtly remind people of those in need at Christmas in our community. Kettles are typically located in malls and outside retail stores from mid-November to Christmas Eve.
How much time is required?
Bell Ringers typically stand by a kettle 2 to 4 hours at both indoor and outdoor locations. Ideally, it is best if volunteers commit to 8 to 10 hours throughout the course of the Christmas Kettle Campaign which runs from mid-November to Christmas Eve.
What is the Christmas Kettle Campaign?
The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign is a fundraising effort that occurs each year during the Christmas season. Kettles are found in 2000 locations across Canada and are an opportunity for the public to donate whatever funds they can to support the work of The Salvation Army during the Christmas season and throughout the year.
The tradition of Salvation Army kettles began in San Francisco in 1891 with Captain Joseph McFee. Captain McFee was looking for a way to help provide meals to families in need and recalled the “Simpson’s pot” – a large pot used in Liverpool, England into which passers-by threw charitable donations. Captain McFee decided to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing. By strategically placing the kettle, he was able to attract donations from those going to and from the ferry boats.
Now, over 100 years have passed and beyond providing Christmas dinners, the money raised at kettles is also used to provide clothing, shelter, food, toys, financial assistance and counselling year-round. The Salvation Army’s holiday fund-raising activities play a crucial role in sharing the spirit of the season with families in need. The Salvation Army does its best to ensure that no family goes without food, no child is without presents under the tree and that Christmas is a time of hope and healing.
What happens to the money raised?
For too many Canadians, the necessities of life needed for basic human dignity are out of reach. Poverty is the root cause that puts dignity out of reach for millions of Canadians, making access to everyday needs, like food, clothing and shelter, difficult.
Funds raised through donations made at Christmas kettles, together with other sources of funds, help provide direct, compassionate, hands-on service to 1.6 million people each year in Canada, restoring hope and dignity to those who might otherwise remain invisible in society.
How does The Salvation Army determine where the funds raised will be used?
While Salvation Army Christmas kettles can be found all across Canada, and around the world, each Christmas kettle location is organized and managed by a local Salvation Army unit. The funds raised stay in the community in which they were donated and are used to support local Salvation Army programs for people in need.