Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Salvation Army's Kettle Campaign around the corner, volunteers wanted

For the last quarter-decade, The Salvation Army has been in Tehachapi helping to feed, cloth and house people in the community who are in tough financial times.

Since their humble beginnings in Old Town serving around 50 people per month, Tehachapi's Salvation Army now distributes over 50,000 pounds of food to over 600 families per month. So far in 2023, they've also provided utilities assistance to over 400 households and housed 92 people in emergency housing. Over 50 kids are in regular attendance of their after school program.

The Salvation Army itself was founded in 1865 by William Booth in the United Kingdom, and can be recognized today by its red donation pails and eager bell-ringing volunteers that crop up around grocery stores and supermarkets across the country during the holiday season. With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas on the way, The Salvation Army has once again started its annual Kettle Campaign, and Tehachapi is no exception.

The Red Kettle Campaign started when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee wanted to feed poverty-stricken people in San Francisco a Christmas dinner, but lacked the funding to do so. To fundraise, McFee adopted an idea he had first seen in England where an iron kettle was left out on the docks for passersby to pitch in a coin or two for the poor. McFee painted his kettle red and proceeded to birth an incredibly successful holiday fundraising campaign and tradition that the entire Salvation Army organization would soon adopt. Today, the Red Kettle Campaign is The Salvation Army's main source of income, with proceeds going to support their various food, clothing and toy programs and drives.

In 2022, the Tehachapi kettle campaign brought in nearly $35,000 – money that went directly back into the local community. Applications to volunteer as a bell-ringer for 2023 are now open, and Tehachapi is in need of more volunteers than ever. This year, as grocery prices hike and needs grow, Tehachapi's Salvation Army is hoping to raise a whopping $50,000. Ringing will start Thanksgiving week and continue throughout the holiday season. Typical ringing hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and volunteer shifts are two hours long. Interested parties can sign up to ring at volunteer.usawest.org.

To get help with food, utilities and emergency housing, or to sign up to be a recipient of their holiday programs, visit The Salvation Army at 538 E. Tehachapi Blvd. Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.