It’s a scene that has likely played out many times throughout your life: as you’re running errands in November and December, you’re greeted outside a store entrance by a volunteer wearing a red apron and hat, ringing a bell, smiling brightly as they wish you a happy holiday season. At their side, a red kettle holds the donations being collected for The Salvation Army.

Using donations gathered in those kettles and throughout the year, The Salvation Army helps their community in many ways — including by sending kids to summer camp.

The Salvation Army has a network of free summer camps that allow children of all ages to have camp experiences despite their family income level. Through camp activities such as swimming, canoeing, hiking, archery, arts and crafts, music, and drama, kids are encouraged to learn new skills, make new friends, and create lasting memories (The Salvation Army, n.d.).

By providing free camp programs, The Salvation Army helps children from lower-income families who cannot afford camp to still be able to have life-changing camp experiences.

In 2023, The Salvation Army served 551,733 campers at 43 summer and day camps (The Salvation Army, 2023).

When you give to a Salvation Army kettle this month, you are making it possible for more children to have camp experiences.

 “A portion of the funding raised locally at the kettles is also used to send children from that local community to summer camp,” says Major Matt Satterlee, territorial youth secretary for the Southern Territory of The Salvation Army. “When you put your change in the kettle, you really are helping to change lives.”


The Salvation Army (2023). 2023 Annual Report.

The Salvation Army. (n.d.). Summer camps.