Target Stores Have Given the Boot to the Salvation Army-Truth! But There is an Update!
Summary of eRumor:
The eRumor calls for a boycott of Target stores because the Salvation Army will no longer be given permission to have holiday bell-ringers with kettles collecting contributions in front of Targets.
This story is true.
Target stores informed the Salvation Army that for the first time, the Salvation Army solicitors will not be allowed in front of Target stores during the 2004 holiday season.
Salvation Army bell ringers, the “Sharing is Caring” message, and the familiar red kettles for taking contributions have been a tradition in front of retail stores for a century.
In a news release, Target said the decision was to avoid showing favoritism in the face of solicitation or donation requests from a large number of organizations.
The Salvation Army says it’s a blow to them because Target locations produced $9 million in donations the previous year.
Update! In late 2005 it was announced on the Salvation Army website that Target and the Salvation Army were partnering together on the “Target/Salvation Army Wish List” an online site to provide items for those affected by the hurricanes and other people in need.
The Boston Globe looked into the 2004 red kettle campaign and found that there is a bit of a schism between retailers.
Some of them, including Target and BestBuy, are banning the bell ringers both because of competing requests and because of customers who don’t like them.
But others, such as Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Autozone and Books-A-Million, are welcoming the Salvation Army and the civic-minded reputation they feel accompanies it.
The Salvation Army was founded in England by William Booth who felt a calling to serve the totality of those in need…spiritual, physical, and material.
The Salvation Army is an international relief ministry that provides personal help, housing, family services, and disaster services in numerous parts of the world.
The red kettle tradition for the Salvation Army got started in 1891 in San Francisco.
The local Salvation Army captain, Joseph McFee, had promised himself to provide a free Christmas dinner for the poor.
To help pay for it, he hearkened to his memories as a sailor in England where there was what was called a “Simpson’s Pot” at a stage landing into which passersby tossed coins to support charitable causes.
He got permission to put a kettle at the Oakland ferry landing…and the tradition spread from there to around the world.