Salvation Army Promotes Ways to Work Program

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Salvation Army of Chicago, IL partnered with Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois on Monday to launch Ways to Work, a program that offers low-interest loans to low-income working parents with bad credit. The program, which is funded primarily by federal, state and local government and loaned more than $58 million to more than 27,000 families since its beginning, enabling parents to buy or repair used cars.

The goal of the program is to help improve borrowers’ credit scores as well as to encourage self-sufficiency and meaningful employment. The primary recipients of the program are single mothers who struggle to meet the demands of both work and family life.

Click Here to Read the Full Article.

The program also includes financial education designed to encourage better borrowing habits and gives recipients the right understanding of credit moving forward. The Salvation Army has partnered with Ways to Work to help administer the program.

“With as many as one in six Americans living in poverty, we need to do everything we can to help parents hold down their jobs and provide a stable home for their families, and that often starts with reliable transportation,” said Lt. Col. Ralph Bukiewicz, Commander of The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. “This program also offers an alternative to predatory lenders who charge exorbitantly high interest rates that only push families further into debt.”

As the recession continues to impact families across the nation, The Salvation Army has launched several programs to teach individuals how to manage personal and family finances. By offering classes on financial literacy, the credit system and money management – The Salvation Army’s “Teach a Man to Fish” initiative has helped many people reduce their dependency on social service programs. Click Here to Learn More.

To learn more about Ways to Work or how to apply, please call The Salvation Army at 1 877-601-ARMY or Lutheran Child and Family Services at 1-800-363-LCFS.

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I’ll take my donation with pickles, please.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Salvation Army of Milwaukee, WI invites you to buy a burger at popular joint AJ Bombers on Friday, October 14. What’s just a bit more satisfying than a fresh, juicy burger? I digress.

You might be saying, “Donate and pay for delicious food? I simply can’t afford it! Also, I’m on a diet!” But not to worry, burger lovers. Your donation is included in the price so there’s no guilt in this diet splurge.

$1 from every “Sal” burger purchased between 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm that night will go directly to the Milwaukee Salvation Army Emergency Lodge and homeless services. That might be the only thing more fulFILLING than the Milwaukee Burger!

Now you might be asking, “What’s a ‘Sal’ burger?”

A delicious combo of pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onion strings, bomber sauce and optional jalapeño peppers awaits you. Or, try one of the regular, nevertheless delicious burger options on the AJ Bomber’s menu.

Not a foodie? Raffle tickets will also be sold to win sports memorabilia, game tickets and more- with all proceeds benefiting The Salvation Army

Housing over 2,000 people every year, The Salvation Army Emergency Lodge of Milwaukee provides temporary shelter, meals and counseling for the homeless as well as support for children dealing with family crisis. Counseling includes case management services that help to pinpoint the factors that are causing homelessness for the individual.The Lodge’s ultimate goal is to get people back in the community with housing and the right mindset and values moving forward. Residents in the 120-bed facility also have access to job development and placement counseling. Click here to learn more!

We hope you’ll help us to continue providing care for Milwaukee’s homeless population.

AJ Bombers is located at:

1241 N. Water Street

Milwaukee, WI 53202

See you there!

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Project KNOT: A Quick Success in Indianapolis

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Last week, The Salvation Army of Eagle Creek, IN teamed up with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and Marion University to celebrate an exciting new partnership called Project KNOT: Kids and Neighborhood Outreach and Training. The alliance was formed in an effort to keep kids out of trouble within the hours after school by providing them with a safe and structured environment.

Kids who take part in Project KNOT after school can choose how they want to spend their time, whether it’s working on their homework with help from instructors, participating in group activities, playing on the complimentary computers, or simply relaxing.

To celebrate the new community goal and to kick off the program, all three organizations (including several IMPD officers!) hosted a block party last week complete with food, games, prizes and The Salvation Army’s renowned giant Red Kettle Bounce House.

Check out the photos here.

“It was also a great opportunity to show the neighborhood and the people that we are willing to work with others,” said Captain Amos Shiels, Corps Officer at The Salvation Army Eagle Creek. “I am excited about what the future holds for Eagle Creek, and I am grateful to be a part of the ministry here.”

On the day after the event, 17 new kids showed up for the after-school program ready for fun and snacks. And now they need volunteers! If you’d like to help support Project KNOT by donating your time, please contact Captain Amos Shiels by calling 317-299-4454.

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Meet me in St. Louis

Monday, September 26, 2011

The following was contributed by Marcia Larson, Salvation Army National Advisory Board Member. Marcia attended The Salvation Army’s NAB meeting in St. Louis September 15-17, 2011 and blogged about her experience. Her reflections on the trip are below.

Click Here to read her blog.

I felt a little bit like Saul Thursday morning at the NAB induction. Not Saul chasing after David. But early Saul.

The Saul who at the beginning of 1 Samuel is tapped by God to step up to leadership and responds, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?

Later, Saul runs over and hides in the luggage (chapter 18).

I didn’t hide in my suitcase Thursday morning but was tempted; because it is a tremendous privilege and honor to serve on the Salvation Army NAB with people who possess years of professional experience, spiritual maturity that only comes from life experiences, and years / even generations of commitment to the Army.

It is humbling to be asked. And as Mark Abels likes to remind me, “I’m not old.” Not very experienced. And yet you’ve welcomed a 32-year-old single woman so warmly and lovingly to your ranks. Thank you.

The Salvation Army brings a cup of cold water…in Jesus’ name. And you don’t forget the “in Jesus’ name” part. While on a mission project in Tanzania last month I held an orphan whose mother tried to sell her to be offered up for human sacrifice. As I held Rehema, I immediately began to think of all the diapers, clothes, shoes, schooling costs, and physical need. And then the Holy Spirit stopped me. “Those are good things Marcia, important things, but what’s the best thing? What’s the everlasting thing?”

What we bring to orphans like Rehema, what the Army brings to the hurting around the world is not just physical sustenance. Because buildings fall down. Clothes wear out.

What the Army brings first and foremost is what 1 Peter 1:3 & 4 calls “ the living hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an inheritance that does perish, spoil, or fade.”

The past three days in St. Louis brought new friends, new issues to think about, new experiences into my life. I ate fried pickles. Smiled for all of Marlene’s pictures. Taught Sally how to “tweet,” talked with Jim Nordstrom about customer service, learned about Kenya from Commissioner Roberts, worshipped at the Gateway Center, stayed in a room the size of my NY apartment, drank lots of coffee, and even had a marriage proposal.

Coming back to NY, it’s back to The Wall Street Journal – bringing news to the world.

But going forward I’ll now be serving on committees of the NAB that bring the Good News of the Gospel. The best news.

Thank you for this opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission through the work of The Salvation Army as we do the most good, for the Most High.

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Cultivating a Future

Monday, September 26, 2011

Congrats to the newest graduates of The Chattanooga Salvation Army’s Culinary School! Most graduates have planned for years for such a milestone. For the record 614 grads that received their diplomas last week, this was a rather unexpected achievement.

Just 15 weeks earlier, students like Chef Augusto Rivera were out of life options. A sordid past of drugs, alcohol and homelessness had him questioning where he would live or to whom he would turn. A time-to-time recipient of Salvation Army meals, his decision one day to instead serve the food sparked a desire within him to cook. When The Salvation Army’s Culinary School Program became available, he made a decision to completely turn his life around.

Thanks to the training he received through The Salvation Army Culinary Program, Augusto’s newly-honed skills landed him a job as Assistant to Class Instructor Chef Terry Epps.

Augusto is just one example of many newly-trained chefs who, amid unforgettable pasts of unfortunate events or poor life decisions, desire to end their homelessness, addictions and sadness.

Chef Terry is proud of his class- especially since all 614 have been hired since graduating!

Congrats, Grads!

Check out the full news story here.

For more information on The Salvation Army’s Programs, Click Here.

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Sam’s Club Donates $500,000 to The Salvation Army!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sam’s Club, a well-known retail warehouse club with locations nationwide, is a long-standing supporter of The Salvation Army and once again, they generously put forth their efforts at a local level to help us raise money.

For the last couple months, more than 150 of the participating clubs in the western division teamed up with their communities to support The Salvation Army- and they raised a whopping $488,383!

Fundraising methods varied by location but the creative juices were certainly flowing. Among the most inventive were on-site movie nights, bowling tournaments, garage sales, cookouts, dunk tanks, car shows, silent auctions, and bake sales. One location even built a jail cell that motivated managers to raise $50 to bail out their own employees!
Although the fundraising methods differed, you can be sure that every event took place on location.

After the campaign ended, Sam’s Club employees wanted to celebrate their efforts. Participants traveled from all over the western region to meet in Kansas City for a volleyball tournament. Players received coaching from special guest Misty Mae Treanor, Olympic gold medalist volleyball champ.

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Thousands Gather for Kroc Center Grand Opening

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The grand opening of The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center of Quincy, IL brought thousands of community members together on Sunday afternoon. Following a ribbon cutting ceremony, guests had an exciting sneak peak at the finished product – one they’ve been waiting to see since the project began seven years ago. Soon-to-be members strolled through the gleaming hallways and admired the grand state-of-the-art amenities which became officially available to the public on Monday.

Grand it is! The beautifully constructed community center boasts an aquatic center, rock wall, worship and performance center, gym and day care center.

Upon her passing, donor Joan Kroc left The Salvation Army $1.5 billion for the development of approximately 30 Kroc Center’s across the country. The centers are intended to create positive effects on the surrounding areas – strengthening the family and community bond, bettering the economy and creating opportunities to grow and learn.

As part of her gift, she asked that the communities wishing to acquire a community center be capable of raising half of the money needed for the project- an effort to ensure sustainability. We admire communities such as Quincy that were able to organize, fundraise and establish the needed community support.

The best part? Memberships are very affordable! These can be purchased on an annual or monthly basis with prices ranging from $336 per year for an individual to $600 per year for a family. Want to know how you can become part of the Kroc Community in Quincy? Contact Angie Duerr at 855-872-5762.

Check out the video above to get a closer look at all of the fun options available to members!

For more information on The Salvation Army Kroc Centers, please visit our website at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

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Fundraising for Fish: Shelter Works to Save Health-Promoting Friends

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The following was contributed by Guest Blogger Kathy Lovin, Public Affairs and Communications Manager – Salvation Army’s Western Territory

In study after study, researchers find that people who watch fish in an aquarium can experience surprising health benefits, such as a decrease in blood pressure, muscle tension and pulse rate!

For instance, one study found that tanks full of brightly-colored fish in the dining room of the memory care unit at a convalescent center increased Alzheimer’s patients’ nutritional intake. That’s why the staff of The Salvation Army’s Bell Shelter in Southern California is trying to raise money to save their 300 gallon saltwater fish tank.

The Bell Shelter is home to about 300 to 350 residents at a time. It’s the largest homeless shelter West of the Mississippi and is located in a converted 40,000 square-foot hangar formerly used as a U.S. Army Air Base. It costs about $200 to $250 per month to feed the fish and clean and maintain the Bell Shelter’s tank. And that’s only if everything’s functioning properly. When a pump or a light needs to be replaced, the cost goes up.

But Paul Wager says the expense is worth it. He should know; he’s the Bell Shelter’s on-staff psychotherapist who helps the residents get their mental health needs met. Of the homeless population, Paul says between 30 – 50% have legitimate mental health issues.

The tank is in the main hall of the shelter in a high traffic area. There are benches along the opposite wall so folks can sit and gaze at the fish to their heart’s content. There are about two dozen fish in all, including clownfish, damselfish, dottybacks, basslets, and anthias.
Paul says the tank has a calming effect on the residents. Watching the tank allows them to relax and take a mental vacation from the challenges in their lives. The fish are such a part of their daily routine that many name their favorites and stand in front the tank to wait for them to swim by every day.

On Friday, September 16 Bell Shelter held a barbecue fundraiser to “Save Nemo and His Friends.” Staff and volunteers bought tickets for lunch and an opportunity drawing that will hopefully bring in much-needed funds so they can keep the tank. They want to give the fish a permanent home while they help the residents ease the transition into a stable, long-term home of their own too.

Click here for a link to fascinating a research paper on the health benefits of companion animals – including fish!

Click here to learn more about the Bell Shelter.

Check out Kathy’s Blog at www.SalvationArmyExpectChange.org!

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Looking Beyond the Numbers

Monday, September 19, 2011

We blogged last week about the increased number of Americans living in poverty which has reached a record 46.2 million people – or one in six Americans. According to the same reporting agency, the top five poorest states are Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Louisiana. Failed government policies from years past and a continued decline in GDP have taken a drastic toll on the jobs market and the American way of life. The poverty rate is the “highest of any major industrialized nation”.

This past week, reporters from The Associated Press scavenged the poorest areas of the country in search for a few of the stories behind this record-breaking number. The accounts include very real depictions of the prevalent poverty struggle in America. Most frustratingly, those without jobs often live in the communities with the fewest resources for finding another. Adding to this vicious cycle are the struggles of feeding a growing family or caring for ill loved ones who are unable to contribute. Families find themselves destitute once government assistance ends or help from the community isn’t an option anymore.

Read the stories here.

Among the accounts is that of Monique Brown, a single mom with four children who, up until two weeks ago, was homeless. When the recession hit in 2008, Monique lost both of her jobs in Florida and decided to move her family to Alabama in order to live near her brother. The Salvation Army of Birmingham provided shelter to Monique and her family for several weeks, eventually helping her find a public housing unit. They paid for her furniture, appliances and rent deposits. She now has a home where she can adequately care for her two-year-old son and continue her search for work. With help from The Salvation Army and other donations, her children have beds again.

The Salvation Army provides housing and homeless services nationwide. Along with providing food and lodging for the homeless, The Salvation Army addresses the health and educational needs of residents and seeks to address the issues causing the need. For more information on The Salvation Army Housing and Homeless Services, please visit our website at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

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You’re Invited: Kroc Center Grand Opening in Biloxi, MS!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Salvation Army Kroc Center of Biloxi, MS would like to invite YOU to their official grand opening this coming Saturday, September 17! After nine years, the $22 million structure is sparkling and ready for public enjoyment. The community center offers a variety of programs to people of all ages including athletic, art and music programs.
The fitness center offers classes for members of all abilities! A professional and trained staff is on site to show members how to properly use the equipment. Group classes like Zumba and Yoga offer a fun alternative to regular exercise. For a list of classes and programs offered through the athletic department, Click Here.
Unique to the Gulf Coast is an aquatics center complete with a recreation pool, lazy river, slide, hydrotherapy bench and two lane lap pool! The center enables members to learn new skills, make friends and improve fitness. A number of activities will be offered, namely water aerobics which provides joint-friendly exercise options. To learn more about the scheduled classes and programs, Click Here. The Kroc Center of Biloxi was founded as a way to give new life to an area that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Founder Joan Kroc, sympathetic to American cities in need, had a strong desire to build a community center in Biloxi as a way to help residents realize their full potential. The Center aims to encourage a spiritual mindset and healthy body. We hope you can get on board! Click Here to learn more about The Salvation Army Kroc Centers.

Come join the fun this Saturday!

The Kroc Center of Biloxi is located at:

575 Division Street

Biloxi, MS 39530

For more information on the Kroc Center of Biloxi, please call 228-207-1218. You can also visit them on Facebook or Twitter.

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