The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, a London minister, gave up the comfort of his pulpit and decided to take his message into the streets where it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute. His original aim was to send converts to established churches of the day, but soon he realized that the poor did not feel comfortable or welcome in the pews of most of the churches and chapels of Victorian England. Regular churchgoers were appalled when these shabbily dressed, unwashed people came to join them in worship. Booth decided to found a church especially for them - the East London Christian Mission. The mission grew slowly, but Booth's faith in God remained undiminished.

In May 1878, Booth summoned his son, Bramwell, and his good friend George Railton to read a proof of the Christian Mission's annual report. At the top it read: THE CHRISTIAN MISSION is A VOLUNTEER ARMY. Bramwell strongly objected to this wording. He was not a volunteer: he was compelled to do God's work. So, in a flash of inspiration, Booth crossed out 'Volunteer' and wrote 'Salvation'. The Salvation Army was born.

The Red Christmas Kettle

You know Christmas is near when you hear the familiar ringing of the Salvation Army bell and 

see the trademark Red Christmas Kettle stationed along Main Street corners and in shopping centers throughout the country. The tradition began in San Francisco 1891 by Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee. Over the decades, the Salvation Army’s red kettle collections have raised millions of dollars in donations for the organization’s work.

The charity closest to the Byers’ hearts is the Salvation Army. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each of the Caroler figurines in the Salvation Army line goes to this organization that provides help and support to so many needy people around the world.

2019 Catalog

Browse our 2019 catalog

Find the inspiration you need to create the perfect scene!