The Salvation Army’s familiar red kettles and bells have ushered in the arrival of the

Christmas season in Rockford and around the world for more than 100 years. With the holiday season weeks away, when will the Salvation Army will kick off the ringing of the bells at red kettles this year?

The Salvation Army will kick off the season this Friday, November 7 at 11:00 a.m. in Center Court of The Cherryvale Mall.

The first time that The Salvation Army used a red kettle to collect funds for the Christmas season was in San Francisco, California. In December 1891, Captain Joseph McFee had no money to provide Christmas dinner to the poor. Desperate, he placed a large empty soup kettle on the street with a sign urging passers-by to “Keep the kettle boiling.” The coins that were dropped in the kettle provided groceries for the needy and began a tradition that continues today throughout the world.

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According to The Salvation Army, nearly $200,000 is placed in Rockford-area Christmas kettles between November 7- December 24. The monies donated to the kettles enable The Salvation Army to bring the spirit of Christmas to those who might otherwise be forgotten- the aged and lonely, the sick, the inmates of jails and other institutions, the poor, and the unfortunate.

Also planned for the Kettle Kick-off at CherryVale Mall, The Salvation Army Brass Band will perform at 6:00 p.m. to greet Santa Claus as he makes his first holiday appearance of the year.

Yes, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Stateline area, like it or not.