Local Salvation Army gearing up for Kettle Drive

by Michael Bush - fbush@civitasmedia.com

According to Major Ben Walters, Jr., Corps Officer for the Salvation Army in Altus, said that he and his family are excited about the upcoming holiday season.

“The people of Altus have really welcomed us and our efforts,” said Walters, “And with with the upcoming Kettle Drive, we really need their continued support,” Walters added. Walters and the local Salvation Army depend on the money raised from the Kettle Drive to fund many of their projects throughout the year.

“These include our social services, Soup Kitchen, providing clothes and food for the needy, ministry and outreach programs,” said Walters.

Last year the local Kettle Drive raised approximately $25,000, and Walters is hoping that the citizens of Altus will help match or maybe even surpass that this year. If you would like to volunteer to ring a bell this holiday season, contact Walters at 580-482-8577or stop by the Salvation Army headquarters at 1100 N. Park Lane.


The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in London England by a Methodist minister, William Booth, and his wife Catherine. The Booths left their church to preach to those unwanted: alcoholics, prostitutes, gamblers, and the wayward and homeless. During the 1880’s, the Army turned toward social reform understanding the connection between poverty and pathological behavior. People who were hungry and cold were fed and provided shelter, without conditions placed on them; then, if amenable, clients would receive spiritual guidance as well.

The Salvation Army continues to provide not only the well known services including emergency food, shelter and disaster assistance, but has a long history of success in its youth development programs including Boys and Girls Clubs, camps, adult rehabilitation, and its famous music conservatories and Corps band programs. The Salvation Army offers its services without discrimination in 124 countries throughout the world. We do not compete with existing services in any community; rather, we assess the needs of each community and tailor our services to meet those needs.

Eighty-two percent of all funds received by The Salvation Army go directly into programs that help the community.


In 1891, a SALVATION ARMY captain in San Francisco resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner to the area’s poor. But how would he pay for the food? As he went about his daily tasks, the question stayed in his mind. Suddenly, his thoughts went back to his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. He remembered the large pot, called “SIMPSON’S POT” that used to be on Stage Landing, into which passersby threw charitable donations.

The next morning, he secured permission from the authorities to place a similar pot at the Oakland ferry landing at the foot of Market Street. No time was lost in securing the pot and placing it in a conspicuous position, so that it could be seen by all those going to and from the ferryboats. In addition, a BRASS URN was placed on a stand in the waiting room for the same purpose.

Thus, Captain Joseph McFee launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but also throughout the world. By Christmas 1895, the kettle was used in thirty Salvation Army Corps in various sections of the West Coast area. The Sacramento Bee of that year carried a description of The Army’s Christmas activities and mentioned the contributions to street corner kettles. Shortly afterward, two young Salvation Army officers who had been instrumental in the original use of the kettle, William A. McIntyre and N.J. Lewis, were transferred to serve in the East. Along with their love for mankind, they took with them the idea of the CHRISTMAS KETTLE.

Altus Programs & Services

The Altus Corps is managed by Majors Ben and Rhon Walters and has supportive staff who works with a variety of programs that serve the needy, the youth, and seniors. In addition to the church and business offices, the facility includes the following:

* Social Services Assistance – Through case management, direct support, partnerships with other community agencies and through corporate and private partnerships, our Social Services program provides nearly 200 grocery orders a year to families in need, nearly 50 cases of utility assistance, and just under 3,000 articles of clothing to individuals.

* Soup Kitchen – Over 5,000 good hot meals were served last year, as well as, fresh produce to take home every Tuesday and Thursday. A Thanksgiving Meal is provided every year to nearly 200 local citizens.

* Family Thrift Store – Located at 110 N. Main Street, locals struggling to make ends meet, can afford gently used clothing, furniture, household goods, appliances, etc. Clothing vouchers can be redeemed from our Social Services office.

* Summer Camp – Located in Welling, OK… The Salvation Army Heart O’ Hills Camp & Conference Center is an ACA Accredited facility that provides the highest level of care for more than 1,600 students each summer. During the remainder of the year, Camp Heart O’ Hills serves as a meeting and conference facility.

During 2015, 21 local children from Altus experienced this camp!

* Disaster Services – Meeting emergency needs in times of local, regional and national disasters. The Altus Corps operates a Mobile Kitchen Unit/Canteen.

* Christmas Assistance – Our well-known Holiday programs that share food, clothing, and toys with needy children and adults.

During 2014, 129 households, including 498 individuals were assisted, and 248 children received gifts!

What does it mean to be a Matching Kettle Partner?

Matching Kettle Partners change lives. With a 1:1 match of kettle contributions, The Salvation Army’s ability to feed the hungry, house the homeless, nurture our youth and provide emergency assistance is multiplied. Donors have an opportunity to leverage their gift during our most visible season, while helping the Salvation Army’s Mission of meeting human needs.

How will your matching gift be used?

Support from Matching Kettle Partners will enable the Salvation Army to: increase services, broaden our outreach, and cut costs. With a successful Christmas Kettle Season, it will enable us to increase services to those who need them. Becoming a Matching Kettle Partner will truly be an opportunity to invest in future generations by meeting human needs in our community today.

Your commitment to this community is an inspiration to others. Thank you for your consideration in becoming a Salvation Army Matching Kettle Partner.

Matching Kettle Opportunity

The 2015 Kettle season in Altus will begin on Thursday, November 19th and will continue through December 24th (excludes Sundays). In 2014, $24,421.01 was generated from holiday traffic at all locations (23 days).

The 2014 Kettle season averaged $1,061.78 per day. We ask you to consider a gift of $1,061.78 OR a half day average income of $530.89, and volunteers to man the kettle at the location of your choice for an entire day. Or you might consider to provide a gift of $212.36 (the average single kettle total) + volunteers.


* Signage noting your company’s matching gift will be prominently displayed at the site(s).

* Media partners and Bellringers will announce to patrons that their gift will be doubled by your company for that day.

* Opportunity for company employees to serve as volunteer bellringers.









by Michael Bush


Reach Michael Bush at fbush@civitasmedia.com

Reach Michael Bush at fbush@civitasmedia.com

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