The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble performs at the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign kick off in front of Market Basket in Biddeford Saturday.

The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble performs at the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign kick off in front of Market Basket in Biddeford Saturday.

BIDDEFORD — The Salvation Army of Old Orchard Beach rang in the season Saturday with the kick off of its 2016 Red Kettle Christmas Campaign.

The mood was festive, with the Salvation Army brass ensemble playing Christmas carols, and local leaders were in attendance Saturday at a ceremony outside the Market Basket grocery store.

“There’s probably no image that represents the Salvation Army more than the iconic red kettle and the bell ringer standing beside it at Christmas time,” said Major B. Bryan Smith, standing next to a Salvation Army “red kettle” donation bucket.

Salvation Army Major B. Bryan Smith speaks Saturday morning at the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign kick off in front of Market Basket in Biddeford Saturday.

Salvation Army Major B. Bryan Smith speaks Saturday morning at the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign kick off in front of Market Basket in Biddeford Saturday.

The tradition of the red kettle began in 1891 in San Francisco with Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee, said Smith. McFee wanted to raise money to provide a meal for those in need, and placed a soup kettle outside to collect donations, asking people to “Keep the pot boiling.”

The Salvation Army of Old Orchard Beach provides services for those in Dayton, Arundel, Old Orchard Beach, Saco and Biddeford.

Salvation Army advisory board member Bill Southwick said funds collected for the kettle help provide toys and food baskets during the holiday season for many local families as well as support services to area families throughout the year.

 “The need has no season,” said Southwick. “The need continues beyond Christmas.”

Smith said the annual kettle drive typically raises between $45,000 and $65,0000. Services the organization provides include a food pantry, community meals, and rent and fuel assistance.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

 


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