The Salvation Army Launches $8.2 Million Red Kettle Campaign; Celebrates 125 years in Detroit

82-day campaign kicks off Nov. 11 as
poverty levels reach a 40-year high

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit will launch its annual Red Kettle Campaign throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties on Friday, Nov. 11. This year’s goal is $8.2 million, a figure needed to ensure the organization can continue providing more than 3 million meals and nearly 700,000 nights of shelter each year to the less fortunate.

The annual Red Kettle Campaign is launching on the heels of statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in September, indicating Michigan’s poverty rate is 16.8 percent, the highest it has been in four decades, with median income levels continuing to fall.

The Salvation Army combats poverty by combining grassroots fundraising with special events designed to engage supporters through metro Detroit. The nonprofit is especially proud to note that all money raised at red kettle sites stays in the community in which it is given. Donations made online or by phone can be earmarked for specific communities as well.

Proudly Serving Detroit for 125 Years

The 2011 fundraising campaign also marks the start of a yearlong celebration marking The Salvation Army’s 125th year of service to Detroit.

Records indicate that The Salvation Army, one of Detroit’s oldest and most trusted charities, officially began serving Detroit in October 1887 in a rented space located above a fish market in the city’s Cadillac Square. Church meetings, which included attention-getting brass and drum bands, were held in the streets to bring the word of God directly to the people they aimed to help.

In the following years, the church and its followers, called Salvationists, faced resistance from the local city government because some viewed the meetings as a public disturbance.

An Indianapolis-based Salvationist named Colonel Blanche Cox, the area’s Provincial Leader, traveled to Detroit to lead the charge in allowing these open air meetings, standing up to authorities and fighting for The Salvation Army’s rights to freedom of speech.

Through Col. Cox’s persistence – and the help and financial support of James Scripps, owner of The Detroit Newswhich published a front page article supporting Cox and The Salvation Army – justice and free speech won out. The Salvation Army obtained permission to hold meetings near the City Hall area in 1901.

Christmas Traditions

Although The Salvation Army worked to help the poor and destitute all year long even then, Christmas assistance in particular soon became a major focus of the work in Detroit. The Red Kettle Campaign officially started in 1891 on the streets of San Francisco. Detroit host its first red kettles soon after.

Continuing that longstanding tradition, through Dec. 24, bell ringers will collect donations at more than 400 red kettle sites such as Kroger, WalMart, Macy’s, Sam’s Club, JCPenney, Walgreens, Gordon Food Service, ACO Hardware, Hiller’s Markets and The Salvation Army Family & Thrift Stores.

Christmas is an especially important time for The Salvation Army, which also distributes Christmas food boxes to families in need, gift cards for food for senior citizens and toys to families in need for wrapping under the Christmas tree.

“This area is facing record numbers of the poor and destitute needing basic human services such as enough food to eat and a place to lay their heads,” said Major Mark Anderson, general secretary and metro Detroit area commander of The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit. “Donating to The Salvation Army is the most direct way to help those touched by the state’s continued economic woes, because .85 cents of every dollar given in your community goes directly to fund programs that change lives.”

FIVE Ways to Give

o   At more than 400 red kettle locations throughout southeast Michigan

o   Call 877-SAL-MICH

o   Log on to

o   By mail, send checks to 16130 Northland Drive, Southfield, MI 48075

o   Text ‘GOODMICH’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation*


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