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The world’s largest red kettle lights up in Times Square

The Salvation Army will be moving the structure around NYC this holiday season.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

The arrival of the Salvation Army's red kettles and bell ringers are a signal that the holiday season has arrived, but with much less foot traffic in NYC, there are fewer places from which to collect donations this year.

Because of this, the Salvation Army has had to get creative—on Tuesday, the charity's New York Division installed what is the largest red kettle in the world in Times Square. The kettle is almost 8 feet tall and hangs on a fixture that stands 32 feet tall.

It's not just a static installation either—built with LED lights that illuminate and sparkle, it has a text-to-donate feature, which triggers the lights and even bell sounds. To activate it, you just have to text "GiantRedKettle" to 41444. The human element is there, too. It'll be staffed with 24-hour security and local corps officers with a real kettle for cash donations.

 Salvation Army Greater New York giant kettle
Photograph: Courtesy Austin Wideman of Salvation Army Greater New York

"The Salvation Army has one mission: to do the most good every single day," said Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Fernandez. "This year, the challenge is greater than ever before, and we are taking giant steps to meet it. We are placing our Giant Red Kettle in the middle of Times Square as a beacon to help feed, shelter, and provide a Merry Christmas to thousands of New Yorkers struck hard by COVID-19. This will be a new tradition to bring hope and to help those in need."

The Salvation Army Greater New York Division has provided more than six million meals to those in need. It runs more than 100 community and social-service programs, serving more than one million people a year.

The Giant Red Kettle, which takes six hours to assemble, will travel around the city, starting at Times Square and moving to the Meatpacking District, Madison Square Park, Astor Place, and then back to Times Square, between December 1 and Christmas Day.

George N. Stonbely, who was behind the creation of the giant snowflake that hangs across Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, helped bring the large kettle to Times Square. Like the snowflake, which has raised millions of dollars since its original installation, the Giant Red Kettle aims to drum up donations in a big way.

 Salvation Army Greater New York giant kettle
Photograph: Courtesy Austin Wideman of Salvation Army Greater New York

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