Salvation Army red kettle

The Salvation Army of Greater Winston-Salem lost six of its iconic red kettles after someone stole them Monday.

The kettles were empty, so the loss isn’t too serious, said Bob Campbell, director of marketing and public relations for the local Salvation Army.

“At the end of the day we pick up our full kettles and leave an empty kettle for later,” Campbell said. “Apparently someone took them thinking they were full.”

The thief only took the kettles, not the stands they hang on, Campbell said. Without the stand and signs, it would be difficult for someone to impersonate a Salvation Army bell ringer, Campbell said.

“It’s kind of strange, I know, but a lot of people steal things,” Campbell said.

A complete list of red kettle locations is available online at

The missing kettles aren’t slowing down what promises to be a busy bell ringing season, with Friday being the official kick-off nationwide of the annual fundraiser. The Salvation Army of Greater Winston-Salem hopes to raise at least $200,000 this holiday season to help fight hunger and homelessness.

“A lot of people think the kettles are primarily for our Christmas programs,” Campbell said.

“The vast majority of that money will help families and individuals throughout the year.”

There will be at least 50 red kettle locations in the area, Campbell said.

In some locations, people can donate using Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Due to a shortage of bell ringers, The Salvation Army is paying some people to ring, but people are encouraged to volunteer, he said. Registering as a volunteer has never been simpler, Campbell said.

People can register online at, where interested volunteers can pick the day, time and location of where they’d like to ring.

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On Twitter @LeeOSanderlin

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