It is thanks to that effort, organized and led by Lt. Rakestraw, that, 652 volunteers gave 7,898 hours, and, for the first time in recent years, reached and surpassed the $80,000 goal. In fact, a total of $80,546.27, was dropped into the kettles; everything from pennies to thousand-dollar checks. That money not only provided for Christmas gifts and meals but will help to support the services of the Army in this county throughout the year.
Gratitude is offered, especially, to the many individuals and families that put money in the kettles and all those individuals, groups, clubs, churches, schools, and businesses that stood with the kettles. Many stores kindly permitted kettles to be set up on their premises, including Deaton’s Building and Home Center in Pulaski; Paul’s Big M; J. C. Penney Company; Price Chopper in Oswego and Fulton; Tops Friendly Market in Hannibal, Pulaski, Mexico, and Sandy Creek; Walmart in Oswego, Fulton, and Central Square; Kenney Drugs in Oswego; and Big Lots. Thanks, also, to John C. Birdlebough High School and Mexico High School.
Here is a brief summary, provided by Capt. Odom, of some of the Salvation Army activities of the recent Christmas season. Four volunteers visited seven nursing homes and distributed 761 gifts. Sixty-five Christmas dinners were prepared and served in 32 hours by eight volunteers. Christmas food boxes and gifts were distributed in Oswego and Fulton by eight volunteers in 80 hours to 335 families including 1,164 people, 513 of them children. Over 3,000 toys were donated with a value of over $75,000.
The tradition of the familiar Salvation Army Christmas kettle began in San Francisco in 1891, when Captain Joseph McFee set up a kettle with the sign, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” From there, the practice spread across the country and around the world.
Clearly, the people of Oswego County kept the pot boiling with their kindness and generosity. The leaders of The Salvation Army Corps of Oswego County are deeply grateful.
Thomas Brown, Chairman
Advisory Board, Oswego County Salvation Army Corps