The Salvation Army Wants to Know: What’s Your #RedKettle Reason?

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* I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for The Salvation Army. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

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If you’ve been shopping at all this holiday season, I’m sure that you have seen The Salvation Army bell ringers stationed at their red kettles.  Your contribution, along with your neighbors’, help the Salvation Army bring Christmas spirit to those who might otherwise have none, including the less fortunate and the elderly.  The Red Kettle campaign helps the Salvation Army to provide aid for 30 million people each year, and this year, the Salvation .

The Red Kettle is an important tradition in my family.  While I don’t usually carry cash, I always try to have a little on my during the holidays so that both myself and my girls can add to the Red Kettle!  It’s such an easy way to encourage giving throughout the holiday season, as well as promote the importance of community service.

Learning the Gift of Giving

My girls essentially want for nothing – they have nice clothes, plenty of toys, and never need to worry where their next meal is coming from.  As a former teacher, I worked with students who had none of those things on a regular and consistent basis.  One of my goals year-round is to foster understanding in my girls of just how fortunate they are, and encourage a spirit of kindness and generosity towards those who are less fortunate.  The Red Kettle campaign is a great way to help foster that generosity throughout the holiday season.  While I have put money into a Salvation Army many times, one of the few times that I remember most clearly was after a long day of shopping at the mall.  My daughters and I stepped out into the parking lot, and we standing and waiting for my husband to bring the car around, when I saw a $20 bill sticking out from a bush in the nearby flowerbed. After looking around for the owners and coming up empty, I promptly dropped the bill in the Salvation Army Red Kettle.  My girls were a little shocked, but I explained to them that we had been just fine without that $20, and that it would help someone in our community. I think leading by example is one of the best ways that we can teach our children to give back, so I always make sure to have a few dollars to let them drop in the Red Kettle during the season.

Responsible Giving Through the Salvation Army

I tend to be pretty picky about what charities I support – I know a lot tend to have a lot of overhead, or the money I donate may leave my community.  This is never a concern for me when it comes to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. As a national average, 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends goes directly to support community service programs – far exceeding the Better Business Bureau’s guideline of 65 percent.  And the dollars you donate stay in your community!  So you don’t have to worry that your dollars are going to do anything but bring Christmas joy to the less fortunate in your local community.  The Salvation Army serves millions of people through dozens of services directly targeting the needs of local communities – from homelessness to disaster relief to substance abuse rehabilitation.

Through the public’s generosity in 2013, in the United States alone:

  • The Salvation Army served more than 58 million meals to the needy.
  • 204,000 people received rehabilitation services through donations to Family Stores.
  • Over 203,000 underprivileged children attended day care and summer day camps.
  • The Army provided nearly 10 million nights of shelter.
  • 324,000 people received help during times of disaster.
  • More than 4 million families and children were served during the holidays.
  • More than 1.8 million people received help through senior, medical and institutional services.

Join the 2014 Red Kettle Campaign!

This year, in their 124th year of the Red Kettle Campaign, the Salvation Army is encouraging giving Americans to share their RedKettleReason on social media using #RedKettleReason. Donors who post using #RedKettleReason can view their posts and others on RedKettleReason.org and learn why the rest of America is giving.  Even if you can’t donate yourself this year, please head over to RedKettleReason.org to check out the conversations.  It will be sure to warm your heart – people have all manner of wonderful #RedKettleReason, and the Salvation Army makes it super easy to add your reason!  You can  donate right on the site, or you can text the word “KETTLE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to support the campaign.

And don’t forget – when you are out with your kids this Christmas season – drop what you can in a Salvation Red Kettle.  It’s a great way to give back and to give  your children the Gift of Giving!

 What’s your Red Kettle Reason? Share on social media using #RedKettleReason!