Facts based on U.S. statistics

Founded by William Booth in 1865, The Salvation Army is an international organization that meets the physical and spiritual needs of people in 124 countries around the globe, and nearly 1,400 communities across America without discrimination.

The Salvation Army assists more than 42 million individuals throughout the year in the United States - almost 6 million of those during the holiday season alone.

The Salvation Army adult rehabilitation centers annually help more than 220,000 people from every walk of life fight substance abuse and return to their communities as participating, contributing members.

The red Christmas kettle debuted in San Francisco in 1891 in the guise of a crab pot. A depression had thrown many out of work, including hundreds of seamen and longshoremen. The campaign proved so successful that by 1900 it was imitated nationwide.

The Salvation Army has more than 4.6 million volunteers and provides assistance to those in need through more than 9,300 service units across the country.

The Salvation Army operates a Missing Persons Program, which provided service to more than 209,000 people last year.

The Salvation Army's League of Mercy visited over 4.3 million people with special needs in hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities last year.

The Salvation Army assists over 21 million people with social service casework projects each year.

The Salvation Army provided an opportunity to camp for more than 186,000 underprivileged children, seniors, and adults last year.

83% of your donation to The Salvation Army goes directly to program funding to help people who need it most.

The Salvation Army was at the frontlines in World Wars I and II, offering comfort and pastoral guidance.

The Salvation Army operates several domestic violence shelters nationwide, where abused women and children can get a fresh start in life, safely and confidentially.

The Salvation Army provided more than 61,000 job referrals last year.

Peter Drucker called The Salvation Army "by far the most effective organization in the U.S.," in Forbes magazine.

The red shield dates from 1896 and serves as the trademark for the Army's social services.

Known for their brass band music, The Salvation Army has approximately 2,500 brass bands worldwide.

Since the 1920s, a Salvation Army brass band from Southern California has marched in the Rose Bowl Parade.

The phrase "on the wagon" was coined by men and women receiving the services of The Salvation Army. Former National Commander Evangeline Booth - founder William Booth's daughter - drove a hay wagon through the streets of New York to encourage alcoholics on board for a ride back to The Salvation Army. Hence, alcoholics in recovery were said to be "on the wagon."

The first Salvation Army band was formed in 1882 by accident. Charles Frye and his sons offered their services as bodyguards for Salvation Army street preachers. They began playing music on their brass instruments to give them something to do while they protected the officers, and soon after quit their family business to lead the Army's music department.

The Salvation Army led in the formation of the USO - United Services Organization. The USO operates service units, which serve members of the armed forces abroad.

"Strawberry Fields Forever" in the Beatles 1966 song by that name, is John Lennon's nostalgic reference to a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field in Woolton, England. Lennon is said to have played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy.