Anonymous Donation Gives Homeless Children a Special Summer Break

Teonnia, Shon, Gladys, Annette, Andrew, Diamond, Jynxy and about a dozen other children traveled from Charlotte, NC to our nation’s capital this July for a summervacation. Amid the crowds of Washington, DC tourists the group of 18 kids blended in among the masses of other visitors, probably looking like the many school groups that make annual summer treks to the city. However, the story behind the young travelers’ trip was certainly unique.

The kids are residents of The Salvation Army Center of Hope in Charlotte, NC, a homeless shelter for women and children that currently houses more than 300 people. Normally these kids would not have the opportunity to take a vacation as their parents strive just to find housing and provide food for their families, but the generosity of an anonymous donor made it possible for the children to escape from life’s challenges for a short while and just have fun being kids.

The Salvation Army's National Commander Israel L. Gaither had the opportunity to talk with the kids during their visit to NHQ.

The Salvation Army's National Commander Israel L. Gaither had the opportunity to talk with the kids during their visit to The Salvation Army's National Headquarters.

The children enjoyed simple pleasures, like staying in a hotel and eating out at restaurants, as well as experienced the unique history and character of Washington, DC. They toured the national monuments, viewed exhibits at some of DC’s most popular museums and even took a boat ride (a first for at least one child) down the Potomac. The group even met with their U.S. Representatives for a personal and candid discussion!

The kids visited The Salvation Army's Archives Department which maintains historical documents and media.

To top off their adventure, the kids visited The Salvation Army National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, located just a few minutes from Washington, DC. Here they toured the building and spent time with our National Commander Commissioner Israel L. Gaither! They also visited our archives department that contains all sorts of historical records, photos, books and research pertaining to The Salvation Army’s rich 145 year history. All in all, the group had a great time and learned a great deal about our organization.

While thumbing through archived files, some of the kids were eager to do their own research on The Salvation Army!

The Charlotte Observer ran a story about the trip with several quotes from the kids in an article called, “Away from the shelter to a Washington vacation,” which you can read by clicking here.

The contributions of the kind anonymous donor made it possible for The Salvation Army to provide these kids not only with shelter and food they receive at home in Charlotte, but also encouragement, inspiration, and a unique educational opportunity through this  invaluable experience.  In fact, all donations, regardless of size or amount, from generous Salvation Army supporters across the country help us serve those in need every day, and this story is just one of countless others in which lives have been affected for the better. For more information about contributing monetary support or gifts-in-kind to The Salvation Army, visit our website at and

You can also learn about the many services offered by The Salvation Army of Charlotte at their website