Salvation Army launches annual Christmas charity collection drive

The annual Salvation Army charity collection has been going since 1906.

Salvation Army collection point in Helsinki / Credit: News Now Finland

The Salvation Army Pelastusarmeja has launched its Christmas appeal, to help low income families and underprivileged children across the country.

The first red kettle charity fundraiser took place back in 1906, before Finland became independent, and so this year marks the 112th time the Salvation Army has asked people to dig deep into their pockets.

Volunteers take to the streets until 23rd December with their distinctive collection points and red buckets.

The donations are distributed in the form of food, clothing and gift vouchers to people in need, via the Salvation Army offices around Finland.

In addition to cash, you can also give gift cards for grocery stores – either in person at collection points, or online.

Historical picture showing Salvation Army collection point in Senate Square, Helsinki / Credit: Salvation Army

History of helping at Christmas

The annual Christmas collection has been organised in Finland since 1906, with the first buckets that year in Helsinki’s Erottaja, Katajanokka, Kauppatori, Senate Square, Esplanadi, Hakkaniemi, Ylioppilastalo and Kauppahalli.

That first year FIM3514 was raised to buy bread, butter, meat, coffee, sugar, crackers and a Christmas newspaper for the city’s needy residents.

In the 1930s and 1950s – in particular in the period after the wars when low income people often lived alone – the annual Salvation Army collections were very popular.

Today, the collections raises close to a million euros every year for people in need over the holiday season.