M.E. Santa puts out major effort for the Salvation Army

The Middlesex East Santa has always played a strong role in meeting demands in the 10 communities of the Middlesex East circulation area.

Funds raised by the M.E. Santa are designated for relief for those in need in just the M.E. communities, note M.E. officials over the years.

However, in its 28th year, M.E. Santa can only empathize with the demands on the Salvation Army that has been out straight helping people in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas in an unprecedented manner.

Still, needs in one’s own backyard just don’t disappear as these much larger issues appear without warning.

Middlesex East, however, does its part by promoting the Salvation Army year-round, as well as put out the request through the M.E. Santa at the holidays to have donations made to this important outreach program.

Also, the M.E. Santa makes it easy for everyone to contribute i.e. for individuals who can’t get to malls or subways there is the M.E. Santa in place to help out during the holiday season.

This “connect” assists the Boston area Salvation Army during its busiest time of the year.

Again, M.E. will be working through Senior Field Representative Michael S. Skoog, who is based at the State Headquarters in Canton. Skoog makes it a point each year to vist with M.E. officers and reporters to provide a nice status report, as well as a “needs” report, where funds are distributed. All funds are given to their Service Extension Department in Canton.

In fact, Skoog enjoys his interchange between everyone in this area from M.E. pressmen like Willy Gomez at the Woburn plant to employees of the newspaper. “We do appreciate so much all you do and all your readers and contributors do,” Skoog noted in his last visit.

Everyone makes a major effort to help this time of year from the DeMoulas family at their area Market Basket stores (the Red Kettles are already out) to the Burlington Mall and others. Collectively, it all adds up to a major helping-hand to assist the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army red kettles also have a nice Boston area history, as one of the first cities after its founding in San Francisco was in Boston.

The red kettle story goes back to 1891, when Joseph McFee, a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco, California, was overwhelmed with the number of poor in that city. McFee had a simple idea. He wanted to provide free Christmas dinners to 1,000 of the poorest of those people, to give them some holiday hope.

Sadly, he had no money for the meals.

McFee tossed and turned at night, praying and thinking about the problem. Slowly, a solution came. He recalled his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. At Stage Landing, where the ships docked, a large iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" had been placed. People walking by would toss in a coin or two for the needy.

Finding a pot, Captain McFee put it at the Oakland Ferry Landing, by the foot of San Francisco's busy Market Street. He placed a sign next to it that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling." Word got around quickly, and by Christmas, the kettle had raised enough money to feed the poor.

The success of the San Francisco campaign spread to other American cities. In 1897, the Salvation Army used kettles in the Boston area. Nationwide, enough money was raised that Christmas to feed 150,000 people.

The red kettles spread to New York City too.

Each year, the Salvation Army serves more than 4.5 million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S.

More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from the Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org).

The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts.

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