Thanksgiving Day National Kettle Kickoff with Dallas Cowboys Enters 27th Year

Nov 1, 2023

A Partnership for Good

Thanksgiving Day National Kettle Kickoff with Dallas Cowboys Enters 27th Year

This Thanksgiving Day, The Salvation Army and the Dallas Cowboys will celebrate the 27th National Red Kettle Kickoff. Since that first Kettle Kickoff in 1997, the Jones family and Cowboys organization have been strong supporters of The Salvation Army, helping to raise nearly $3 billion in donations.

But how did this seemingly unlikely partnership come about? In the early ‘90s, the Cowboys were very successful and were winning Super Bowls, and as an organization came across a challenge. Jerry Jones wanted to identify an organization that could match the Cowboys’ success on the field, with a great reputation and history of serving people. He told his daughter Charlotte, “If people are going to be as interested in what we do off the field as what we do on the field, then we have an incredible opportunity to partner with someone who is truly doing the most good in communities across the country.” They identified The Salvation Army as that organization and so began a wonderful partnership.

Over the years, the relationship has evolved into much more than simply hosting a half-time show on Thanksgiving Day. “The Salvation Army has become part of our culture, our ethos,” said Charlotte Jones, who serves as Dallas Cowboys’ Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer. “For every opportunity we have, we ask, ‘How can we leverage who we are as the Cowboys so people can know more about The Salvation Army?’ That has become who we are, and we wear that Salvation Army shield every day.”

This year, Dolly Parton will perform as part of The Salvation Army’s kickoff to the 133rd National Red Kettle Campaign. Previous Thanksgiving Day performers include Reba McEntire, the Jonas Brothers, Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Selena Gomez, to name but a few.  

Beyond Thanksgiving Day, the Dallas Cowboys continue to be very involved with The Salvation Army throughout the year. On game day, the familiar sight of the oversized red kettles (famously jumped into by Zeke Elliott!) and multiple Salvation Army shields visible at AT&T Stadium field level are a testament to that support.

“The Salvation Army is committed to supporting those individuals that are combatting poverty, addiction and homelessness by offering relief through programs aimed at long-term stability. This would not be possible without the ongoing commitment and partnership of the Dallas Cowboys. Their passion for helping our community’s most vulnerable is inspiring and so important to The Salvation Army’s ability to serve tens of thousands of individuals each year,” said Major Paul McFarland, North Texas Area Commander.

“Every time I see that red shield or the red kettle, I think of hope, and that’s what The Salvation Army brings to everybody,” said Jones. “They serve when times are most trying, challenging and devastating for so many people. It’s not just their involvement during the big disasters. It’s the everyday disasters that people face. When they look to the Army and they look at the shield, they know that someone is there to help them.”

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