Media Kit

Resource for News Media and the Public

The Salvation Army Media Kit


12 Things You Didn't Know About The Salvation Army

  1. The Salvation Army was founded in London, England, in 1865 by former Methodist minister William Booth. Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message of spiritual salvation directly to the people – in particular the homeless, the hungry and the destitute of Victorian-era London.
  2. The Salvation Army is often credited with popularizing the doughnut in the United States. After it served doughnuts – often cooked in battle helmets – to U.S. troops in the field during World War I, many soldiers came back to the States hooked on the pastries. Doughnut consumption subsequently took off in the U.S. during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1938, The Salvation Army created National Doughnut Day, observed the first Friday of June, to honor the female Salvation Army officers – or “doughnut lassies” – who served the troops during the war.
  3. The Annual Red Kettle Campaign began in 1891 in San Francisco when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee set up a crab pot at Oakland Ferry Landing to collect money to feed 1,000 of the poor on Christmas Day. Captain McFee encouraged passersby to drop coins in the pot to help the poor. Thus, the idea for the Red Kettles was born.
  4. Red Kettle volunteers didn’t become bell ringers until 1900, when a young cadet named Amelia from New York City bought a 10-cent bell to ring. The bell was a huge success and drew attention and donations from those who passed. Not long after, all the cadets had bells to ring.   
  5. Now in its 126th year, the Red Kettle campaign is one of the longest-running and most recognizable fundraising efforts in the world. Kettles are now used worldwide and can be found in Korea, Japan, Chile and throughout Europe.
  6. For the 2016 Red Kettle Campaign, The Salvation Army is continuing to encourage Americans to share their personal motivations for giving using the hashtag #RedKettleReason. People can visit to start their own fundraising page and donate directly to a need The Salvation Army addresses, such as hunger, shelter or holiday assistance.
  7. Every year, approximately 25,000 bell ringers, young and old, brave the elements to help The Salvation Army raise money for local community programs. Year after year, mystery donations are dropped into the Red Kettles ranging from gold coins and diamonds to large cash donations and even wedding rings.
  8. Since 1997, The Salvation Army has partnered with the Dallas Cowboys to launch the Red Kettle campaign during halftime of the team’s Thanksgiving Day game. Every year a renown artist will kick off the season and join a list of other distinguished performers such as Luke Bryan, Selena Gomez, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, the Jonas Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, Toby Keith and Jessica Simpson. Throughout the 20-year partnership, The Salvation Army has raised more than $2 billion in the Red Kettles to support service efforts in communities nationwide. 
  9. In 2015, The Salvation Army partnered with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to launch the Human Needs Index (, a new approach to understanding poverty in the U.S. that draws on The Salvation Army’s rich collection of service-related data.
  10. National Salvation Army Week, typically observed the second week of May, was first declared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. In the proclamation, Eisenhower noted: “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood...Their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans. Giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”
  11. The Salvation Army began dispensing food and drinks near Ground Zero less than an hour after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. In nearly nine months of service there, 40,000 Salvation Army volunteers, staff and officers assisted 4.5 million people with meals, pastoral counseling and social services.
  12. In 2005, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton selected The Salvation Army, along with the Rolling Stones, Oxford University and the Olympic Games, as among the world’s top-ten enduring institutions.