Mississippi Moment: Red Kettles

Mississippi Moment

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Salvation Army Kettle started nearly 130 ago in San Francisco. Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor people were going hungry, especially during the holidays. So he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. All he had to do was come up with the money.

He remembered his sailor days in Liverpool, England. There was a large, iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot.” People would toss in coin or two to help the poor. The next day, Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the 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.” Soon, he had the money feed the needy that Christmas.

Captain McFee’s kettle idea has spread, not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. You will find them in Korea, Japan, Chile and all over Europe, as well as right here in Mississippi.

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