For more than 40 years, the local Optimists have participated in Kettle Day, a major fundraiser for the Salvation Army, by ringing a bell in front of local establishments. Tomorrow, December 6, Optimists will once again aid those in need.
The Salvation Army helps low-income people pay their utility, shelters families who have lost their homes, and feeds the hungry.
Optimist Club President Marc Sallus said that his family immigrated to Chicago from Romania in the early 1900s. “We were quite poor,” said Sallus, who is a partner in the law firm Oldman, Sallus & Gold.
Sometime after 1906, the Salvation Army helped his family obtain needed food and support. “It was a family of seven,” Sallus said. “It touched them that the Salvation Army would help everyone, Christians and non-Christians.
“I have had strong positive feelings towards the Salvation Army,” he said. “I’m glad we can help with the bell ringing for the Red Kettle program.”
The Red Kettle dates back to 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to find a way to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute. In his sailor days in Liverpool, he remembered a large iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passersby tossed in a coin to help the poor.
So, the next day, McFee placed a similar pot at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco and placed a sign, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had money to feed the needy at Christmas. The idea spread across the nation and today the Salvation Army assists more than 4.5 million people between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Tomorrow when you see Palisades Optimists ringing the bell in front of the Post Office, consider throwing change/bills in the kettle, it might make a difference in someone’s lives, like it did to the Sallus family.
To participate in an online kettle, visit: onlineredkettle.com.