Employees from Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full-service business law firm, volunteered their time last Thursday as Salvation Army bell ringers to raise important funds for those in need this holiday season.
Gallagher & Kennedy employees and several of their family members took turns donning the signature red Salvation Army aprons to man the red kettle in front of the Macy’s at Biltmore Fashion Park last week. The group raised nearly $400 for the day, more than double what a typical Thursday sees at this location.
Donations to the Salvation Army provide Christmas dinners, clothing and toys for families in need. The tradition of the red kettle dates back 120 years thanks to Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee. It was 1891 and the poor and hungry in San Francisco weighed heavily on McFee. He resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the city’s 1,000 poorest individuals but did not know how to fund the project.
McFee thought back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England where at Stage Landing, the local port, a large iron kettle stood. People passing by would toss in a coin or two to help the local poor. The next day McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing in San Francisco and the tradition of the Salvation Army Kettle was born.
Red kettles spread through the country over the next decade and into the turn of the century. Today in the U.S., the Salvation Army assists more than 4 ½ million people from Thanksgiving through Christmas.