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Red Kettle Bell Ringer Prefers Accordion
pic darryl bain n copy
Darryl Bain performs his accordion in front of the SaveMart-Manteca (Main Street) during his years of work with the Salvation Army Red Kettle drive.


209 staff reporter

Darryl Bain looks forward to this time of year.

After Thanksgiving, he becomes one of the many bell ringers for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign.

But rather than a bell, the Manteca volunteer plays his accordion, violin and trombone. “You need more than one person with the trombone,” said Bain, who has assisted in the Salvation Army cause since 2005.

All donations collected will go to the Stockton Salvation Army to help out the numerous endeavors including Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The Red Kettle Campaign makes possible hot meals, food, and groceries prepared and distributed to low income, senior and homeless during the holidays.

The dollars and cents collected also provide Christmas gifts along with winter shoes and coats.

The Stockton Salvation Army administers – directly or indirectly – a number of emergency and assistance programs and social services to families in San Joaquin County throughout the year.

Donations here also go Energy bill assistance program specifically to qualified low-income customers coupled with the emergency food assistance and clothing vouchers.

Bain is more than happy to help out.

These days, he plays his accordion, performing his music next to his Red Kettle while passersby at the SaveMart on North Main Street will stuff his “pot” with cash donations.

Bain has put in 20,000 hours over the years, wearing down two accordions in the process.

The Red Kettle was started in 1891 by Capt. Joseph McFee, who was distraught after seeing so many people in San Francisco go hungry. He was inspired from his days in Liverpool, England where folks would drop a coin or two into an iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot.”

McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing on Market Street, placing a sign that read “Keep the Pot Boiling” to help the needy get properly nourished at Christmas.

Some six years later, the kettle idea went from the West Coast to the Boston Area, becoming a nationwide effort that resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy.

By 1901, the kettle contributions in New York City provided funds to make possible a sit-down meal to feed the masses in Madison Square Garden.

Today, the Salvation Army assists over 4 million people during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanks to worldwide contributions to the Red Kettle Campaign, Salvation Army is able to continue providing year-round service with its many endeavors.


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