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Muscatine Salvation Army officer sleeps in giant red kettle

Lt. Greg Bock is sleeping in the kettle outside Hy-Vee. He started sleeping there on Thursday.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — A Hy-Vee parking lot isn’t where most people plan to spend their night.

“It’s a big responsibility and I don’t take it lightly,” said Muscatine Salvation Army Lt. Greg Bock.

The giant red kettle outside the Hy-Vee in Muscatine isn’t usually a home, either.

“The first night I knew was going to be a rough night to sleep,” Bock said.

Bock is living in the giant red kettle this week. He climbed into his temporary home on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s a good way to get people to stop and look at it and pay attention and listen to what you’re talking about,” Bock said.

He only has a few items with him in the kettle.

“I went up with a heat lamp, and a sleeping back a subzero sleeping bag,” Bock said. He said he sleeps on a gym mat, and pulls blankets over his body at night on top of the sleeping bag.

This isn’t the first winter Bock has attempted this red kettle lifestyle.

“I did this, 2016 up in northern Michigan, in Sheboygan where I lived in a giant kettle like this one,” Bock said.

He did this last year in Muscatine, too.

He plans to be in the red kettle for several days.

“The challenge is to meet the goal, or Christmas Eve. If I meet the goal, great, I can come down. Or if Christmas Eve rolls around, my wife says I have to come down,” Bock said.

If he stays until Christmas Eve, he will spend seven nights in the kettle, where he hopes Hy-Vee customers will help him reach the Muscatine Salvation Army goal of $190,000.

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“I’d like to see it happen before I crawl down from this kettle on Christmas Eve,” Bock said.

As of Saturday, December 19, the Muscatine Salvation Army was about $17,000 short of their goal, Bock said.

“The goal is big, the pandemic is huge, but the hearts of this community are even bigger,” Bock said.

Bock is spending a few cold nights in a big red kettle, but he’s warmed up by the generosity of those walking by.

If you’d like to donate to the Muscatine online red kettle, click here. To donate to another virtual red kettle, click here. For more information on the campaign, click here.

The campaign ends on Christmas Eve.