BRONXVILLE, N.Y. You know it's the holiday season in Bronxville when Reno Federighi sets up his Salvation Army kettle in front of the A & P.
"I have been here for the last five years," Federighi said. " I take two days off a week, but I work every other day. "
Federighi said that some days are better than others, but most shoppers stop by to drop something into his kettle.
"People here are very generous, not only do they donate money, but they remember me too," he said. Lot's of people bring me a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and some bring home baked cookies too."
Federighi,who lives in Yonkers, is one of hundreds of volunteers who collect donations at 500 kettles in the greater New York area.
"Last year the greater New York area volunteers raised $25 million," said Denise Richardson, who is the Director of Communications for the Greater New York Area Chapter of the Salvation Army.
Richardson said that while most of those working the kettles are volunteers, some collectors are paid.
While many people think it was the Salvation Army collectors who dressed up as Santa, it was actually the Volunteers of America, Richardson said.
The Salvation Army can be traced back to San Francisco. It was 1891 when English sailor Joseph McFee was looking for a way to raise money for the poor during Christmas when he remembered seeing passengers from docked boats in England tossing coins into a large kettle called "Simpson's Pot."
McFee set up his first kettle at the Oakland Ferry Landing with a sign which read "Keep the Pot Boiling." He raised enough money that year to provide Christmas dinner to many poor families.
By 1897, kettles had gone nationwide funding 150,000 Christmas dinners for the poor and by 1901, donations in New York City funded a sit-down dinner held at the old Madison Square Garden.
Back in front of the A & P in Bronxville, Federighi said he started collecting right after Thanksgiving and will continue to stand his kettle until Christmas Eve.
"I look forward to doing this," he said. "It is my way of giving back and I love to see my friends from Bronxville every year."
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