Media Kit: Resource for News Media and the Public
11 Things You Didn't Know About The Salvation Army
- 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.
- National Salvation Army Week 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."
- The annual Red Kettle Christmas fundraising campaign started in 1891 when a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco set up a crab pot at Oakland Ferry Landing to collect money for the poor at Christmas. The campaign has since become one of the longest-running and most recognizable fundraising efforts in the world. Kettles are now used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile and throughout Europe.
- The Salvation Army's first major disaster response effort in the United States followed the devastating hurricane that impacted Galveston, TX in 1900, literally destroying the coastal city and killing more than 5,000 people. Following the storm, Army officers from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help clean, feed and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed spiritual and emotional support. The Army's emergency response capabilities were once again tested six years later following the Great Earthquake in San Francisco in 1906.
- The Salvation Army is often credited with popularizing the doughnut in the United States. After serving doughnuts—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.
- The Salvation Army led in the formation of the United Services Organization (USO) during World War II which serves members of the armed forces abroad to this day.
- "Strawberry Fields Forever" in the Beatles 1966 song by that name, is John Lennon's nostalgic reference to a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field in Woolton, England. Lennon is said to have played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy. The facility closed in 2005.
- The Salvation Army has been featured or mentioned in literally hundreds of Hollywood movies over the years—from classics like The 39 Steps and On the Waterfront to contemporary hits like Seabiscuit and Titanic.
- Since 1997, The Salvation Army has launched the annual Red Kettle Christmas fundraising campaign with a special halftime show performance at the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game. Previous performers have included Kelly Clarkson, Toby Keith and Jessica Simpson. During this time period, The Salvation Army has raised over $1 billion from the red kettles to support service efforts in communities nationwide.
- In 2005, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton selected The Salvation Army, along with the Rolling Stones, Oxford University, the Olympic Games and others, as among the world's top-ten enduring institutions.
- In 2009, consulting firm Cone ranked the leading 100 nonprofit brands and ranked The Salvation Army in second place behind the Y.M.C.A. The report also noted that The Salvation Army was the most familiar nonprofit among all Americans.