Paper Angels: A Novel by Jimmy Wayne

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last year we blogged about country singer Jimmy Wayne’s hit single “Paper Angels” – a musical account of Jimmy’s turbulent childhood and his life-changing experience through The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree program.

The acclaimed singer is back with a book by the same name. Paper Angels, out November 1, is a story based on his hit song about an unlikely boy showing a disillusioned businessman about the true meaning of Christmas.

Jimmy co-wrote this novella with fiction author Travis Thrasher. Penning this story was especially significant for Jimmy, a recipient of Christmas presents from The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program as a child. The story reminds us about how simple acts of kindness can forever change the lives of others – the same way Jimmy’s life was forever changed by the kindness of his own ‘Paper Angel’. You can order your copy of this heartwarming story by clicking here.

There are many children and seniors in need. You too can have a meaningful impact on someone’s life this Christmas. By adopting an angel through our Angel Giving Tree, you can change a life! Simply visit www.jcp.com/angel to get started. Many thanks for your support!

Check out the video below to learn more.

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November: National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Monday, October 31, 2011

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month.

When you think of a homeless person, it’s difficult to imagine a child fending for themselves on the streets. But did you know that more than 1.5 million children are homeless at some point in their lives? The number is shocking – and apparently increasing – according to The National Center on Family Homelessness.

So…why do they leave their homes?

Many homeless youths are victims of trauma. They come from homes of significant abuse: either their parental figures are abusing substances and/or the child is being abused. Some escape because their families don’t accept them for a variety of reasons. There’s also a large number of youth who are the products of failed juvenile justice. They’ve aged out of the foster care system and are expected to be independent without resources or support.

Not surprisingly, homeless youth can have significant mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse problems. Because of this, they are more susceptible to lives of crime or early parenthood and the vicious cycle of abuse continues.

As Americans, do we trust the system too much? Are we overlooking this blatant need? In the book of Matthew, we are called by Christ to care for children:

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:1-6, 10-14

The Salvation Army has many programs in place that are helping to end the cycles of poverty, abuse and neglect of children. Many Salvation Army units have “Adopt a Child” or “Adopt a Family” programs that allow for donors to directly pay for a child or family in need. Salvation Army transitional housing centers are commonly available in communities for youths and single parent families. Even better, Salvation Army transitional programs often include relevant training. So not only are they meeting their basic needs, younger residents will receive counseling and training to increase cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial skills to help develop their education and career.

We liked The Salvation Army of Lubbock, TX’s approach to helping youths. Their Red Shield Home Transitional Shelter program gives homeless youths computers and technology classes to help them get a head start at beating cyclical homelessness. The information divide between lower-income and higher-income populations has been directly linked to access to technology. By providing technology for the younger generation, The Salvation Army of Lubbock is actively participating in bettering not only this generation, but generations to follow.

In an effort to combat this end, The Salvation Army also offers youth camps and recreational centers to encourage low-income children to learn new skills and self-reliance. Counselors at these camps encourage spiritual, physical and emotional development.

Finally, many Salvation Army units offer after-school programs that help hinder poor decisions by encouraging children to engage in healthy activities in those unsupervised hours after school.

In summary – there are a variety of programs with which you can help us!

You can get involved in our efforts to support homeless youths and to combat cyclical poverty. Helping financially is often inexpensive. Please consider reaching out to your local unit to find out how you can help “Adopt” a child financially, donate your time or items, or simply lend an ear to a child as a volunteer.

If you’d like to donate online, please visit our Ways to Give page.

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This Weekend: You’re Invited to Kroctoberfest!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Leaves are spinning, the temperatures are dropping, and there’s crispness in the air that stirs up a special nostalgia experienced only in the unique month of October. As we anticipate the coming holidays, newly formed Salvation Army Kroc Centers throughout the country are creating their own fall tradition: KROCTOBERFEST.

The real question remains: Is RJ Kroc of German heritage? Either way, the name is an appropriate title for the annual celebration of fall at the Kroc Centers.

While many Kroc Centers have started their Kroctobers already, this coming weekend is jam-packed with events for the communities surrounding the Centers.

To name just a few, here are some of the Kroc locations offering events this weekend.

San Francisco, CA: Spiders will be spinning webs at the San Francisco Kroc Center’s 4th Anniversary Halloween Carnival, which takes place on Friday, October 28, 2011 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Admission is free for all children and their families. Children and their families will be able to enjoy a host of activities, food, and games – including bowling, sharp shooter, mini golf, cake walk, ping-pong, and as a special addition the courtyard bounce house. Prizes will also be awarded for the best costumes, with a congratulatory hug from R.J Kroc, our friendly and always-popular 7-foot mascot. Learn more.

Coeur d’Alene, ID: The Kroc Center of Coeur d’Alene is hosting a concert on Friday night, October 28- the Panhandle Polecats will be stirring up some bluegrass for only $8 per ticket. The weekend will conclude with an expected 3,000 guests at gigantic “Wild West” themed Halloween party, complete with bounce houses, booths, movies in the theater, and of course – Mr. RJ Kroc himself! Learn more.

San Diego, CA: On Saturday, October 29, The Kroc Center of San Diego will be hosting the annual Boo Bash Halloween Carnival. From 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., you can enjoy ice-skating, carnival games, bounce houses, rock climbing and, what else? “Trick-or-Treating”! Not a member? The price is only $2 for entrance. Learn more.

Atlanta, GA: The Kroc Center of Atlanta is hosting a Senior Fall Ball on Sunday, October 30th. Guests can enjoy a nice meal, live music and dancing. On October 31, join in the Family Fun! Chosen Vessels, a Christian dance group, will be performing. The night will also include activities for teens and children. Learn more.

Augusta, GA: While “Kroctoberfest” may have happened last Saturday, there is still plenty going on this weekend at The Kroc Center of Augusta. Aptly titled Kroptoberfest, the Center is hosting a scrapbooking party from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., followed by “Trunk or Treat” for members, guests and staff. Child-friendly costumes are welcome and prizes will be awarded. Learn more.

Kerrville, TX: Join the Kroc Center of Kerrville, TX for Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 29. Free and open to the public from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., the event includes games, pumpkin patch, food, face painting, and bounce houses. Learn more.

Omaha, NE: The Kroc Center of Omaha is hosting a Pumpkin Patch Party on Monday, October 31 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Not a member? The price is only $5 for entry! Also a bonus: The first 200 kids get a free bag of treats. Learn more.

And this isn’t all. There are plenty of events happening this weekend at Kroc Centers nationwide. These events are provided as part of The Salvation Army Kroc Centers’ mission of providing safe and secure family events within communities. We hope you will join in your local Kroctoberfest: celebrating fall, fellowship and friends at your local Kroc Center!

You can find more info on all of the Kroc Centers and their Facebook pages by visiting our website here. Don’t miss out on the family fun!

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Join us for WRAP Week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let’s WRAP it up!

The Salvation Army’s Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking is recognizing the 24th annual White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week beginning Sunday, October 30. Running through November 6, the week is dedicated to creating awareness of our culture’s pornography problem as well as highlighting the harm done to adults and children alike by exposure to pornography.

The week also serves as a reminder for churches to confront the issue and to call all Christians to renewed lives of sexual purity and freedom.

Believing that pornography is a scourge on society and a distortion of God’s design for human happiness and well being, The Salvation Army’s Anti-Pornography initiative offers information and resources for families to protect themselves and to help others with pornography addiction. The Salvation Army also believes that pornography is one of the many facets of the Human Trafficking epidemic. The anti-pornography program is thus another effort to combat Human Trafficking.

Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army’s role in both of these issues.

Here are a few ways in which you can help raise awareness about this societal problem:

Wear a white ribbon. You can purchase your own at www.wrapfamily.com!
Share the facts! Open the eyes of a friend by simply giving them the low-down on the negative societal effects of pornography. Check out www.TheSalvationArmyUSA.org for a list of resources.
Share a list of resources about sexual addiction treatment services available in your community.
Join the movement: Pray for the freedom of those caught in the spiritual bondage of addiction.
Please join us and many other groups in pledging to take action against pornography throughout the year. For more information on the WRAP campaign, please visit www.moralityinmedia.org

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Granting Wishes in Greenville

Monday, October 24, 2011

Robert Libby has been through more than your average 12-year old boy. Undergoing two separate open heart surgeries, he’s learned how to endure stress and pain at a very young age.

But nothing made his heart ache more than when his trumpet broke.

As a way to escape, Robert developed a passion for music which he describes as his “joy of the day”.

With no way to afford a replacement instrument for her son, Robert’s mother Peggy Kay reached out to The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program, hoping to fulfill her son’s wish. Salvation Army volunteer Lisa Price of Greenville, SC contacted a seller on Craigslist and arranged the exchange. The seller, upon hearing of Robert’s predicament, decided to donate his beloved trumpet to the cause.

So touching! We are so thankful for all of our volunteers who continue to help us “Do the Most Good”!

Read the entire Fox News Story Here.

Want to help make a child’s dream a reality? Throughout the entire Christmas season, the generous supporters of The Salvation Army make Christmas a very special time for children in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree. Starting November 2, you can visit www.jcp.com/Angel to adopt your own Angel.

More info to come!

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Now Available: 2011 Online Annual Report

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Time for Every Purpose- this is the theme of The Salvation Army’s 2011 Online Annual Report, now available at http://annualreport.salvationarmyusa.org/.

This verse from Ecclesiastes rings true when we reflect back on the challenges and blessings of this last year. We’re reminded – as both an organization and as individuals – of our God-given purpose to serve others during this temporal life.

We’re proud to report that, guided by God’s love and your compassion and support, The Salvation Army served 30 million Americans in 2010!

Our time to fight is always the present. The recession has created a higher demand for food services and a decline in charitable donations. Food shortages were the result, but we were still able to serve 64 million meals in 2010.

Here are some additional numbers:

5: The number of completed and opened Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers in 2010 – there are now 17 completed centers throughout the country!

7,675: The number of operating Salvation Army units nationwide.

$1.82 billion: Total public support – an increase from $1.66 billion in 2009.

$3.24 billion: The amount we spent serving people – an increase from $3.12 billion in 2009

82 cents: …of every spent dollar went towards Salvation Army program services.

In addition, the report includes examples of The Salvation Army’s expanded efforts in the fight against human trafficking.

We couldn’t do any of this without your support and generosity. Thank you for helping us fulfill our mission of “Doing the Most Good”.

“Through every time and for every purpose to which God has called us, The Salvation Army presses on, joyfully and with determination”

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Want to share these stats? Let your friends know about the 30 million Americans who benefited from The Salvation Army’s work. You can do so by visiting us on Facebook or Twitter. To learn more about The Salvation Army, please visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

Stay tuned for the Online Video!

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Busy Saturday? Let’s Make a Difference!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are you free on Saturday? Let’s roll up our sleeves!

October 22 is “Make a Difference Day”, the nation’s largest day of volunteering. For over 20 years, USA Weekend Magazine and HandsOn Network have rallied millions on this day of action to volunteer in their communities. Whether large or small, the goal of the event is to encourage people, organizations and businesses to take part in community projects that improve the lives of others.

You can search for pre-planned projects in your area by clicking here.

Feeling entrepreneurial? You can start your own project too!

Take a look around – what needs to be done in your community? Perhaps you could make a point to clean up litter that you see throughout your day. Who cleans your church on a regular basis? I know I take those people for granted. Your efforts can be as simple as offering to rake leaves for your elderly neighbors. Just asking is the best way to get started!

Get inspired and learn about ways others are volunteering on Saturday by visiting the official “Make a Difference Day” Facebook page.

And if you’re still short on ideas, consider reaching out to your local Salvation Army. With the holiday season approaching, there is most likely a need for volunteers in Salvation Army feeding kitchens or Red Kettle bell ringing program.

No matter how you decide to make a difference this Saturday, you’re still helping The Salvation Army fulfill its mission of “Doing the Most Good”.

Thank You for your good works!!

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“Doing the Most Good” Because of Your Support!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

“I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” Psalm 140:12

As Americans we’re somewhat conditioned to believe there is always “someone else” taking the financial lead on helping the poor. But in the current economic crisis, that “someone” is a shrinking number.

As you might imagine, charitable organizations are majorly struggling to stay afloat in the current economic climate. The ingredients for wealth – a free market and a stable economy – are the same ingredients that encourage charitable giving. Dwindling bank accounts and lost job security means charitable organizations suffer. And rightfully so: one must take care of their own family before that of others.

But the recession also means there’s a larger demand for need. In fact, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army has seen a 30% increase in requests for financial assistance. Whereas in a healthy economy, charities are normally readily available to help, this overwhelming increase means resources are drying up faster. It seems there is a new story every day about the empty shelves at Salvation Army food banks across the country.

But with your support, The Salvation Army can fill the need. With a presence of over 7,000 locations nationwide, we are ready to provide for those who need housing, clothes, furniture, financial assistance, rehabilitation, spiritual counseling, or toys at Christmas – to name a few.

But we can’t do any of this without your support.

While times are tough and pocketbooks are tight, your love can still be shown in a number of ways. Your monetary donations, whether large or small, make possible our many programs and help thousands in financial despair. Your old coats can keep members of your community warm during the winter months. Your donated goods could change a life at our Adult Rehabilitation Centers. Every bit of your support is immensely appreciated by all and enables your local Salvation Army to fill an ever-increasing need in your community.

You can visit our website to learn more about ways to give. To find out ways that you can help your local Salvation Army fill that need, click here and type in your zip code in the upper-right corner.

Thank You for Your Support of The Salvation Army!

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18

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Victory Laps in Charlotte!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Morgan Shepherd is one thoughtful race-car driver! Two more lucky kids joined NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd and his Victory in Jesus Racing Team at Charlotte Motorspeedway’s “Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage” this past friday.

Charlotte Boys and Girls Club members Keddrick and De’Majha had the best seats at the event, enjoying an action-packed race by sitting with the crew chief on the pit-box during the race. Joining the kids were guests Martin Sanders, Director of Development for The Salvation Army Greater Charlotte, and Cedric Cook, Unit Director of the Boulevard Homes Boys & Girls Club.

Shepherd entertained the Salvation Army guests with autographs, pictures, lunch and soft drinks. Thereafter, the group enjoyed a roller-skating exhibition – a favorite past-time of Morgan’s. Guests were then entertained throughout the evening in the infield area during driver introductions, The Star-Spangle Banner, Pre-Race Prayer and the race event on pit row.

Shepherd finished 25th that night, continuing his amazing run of consecutive 28th or better finishes in the last six races!

We’ve blogged about The Salvation Army’s connection with Morgan Shepherd’s Victory in Jesus Racing Ministry in the past. Thanks to a partnership formed by Pack and Ferreira, Shepherd has been sporting the “Doing the Most Good” Salvation Army logo on his #89 car since early 2011.

Amid all of this action, Shepherd turned 70 years-old on Wednesday October 12th. Simple Amazing! We are so thankful for his support of The Salvation Army.

Happy Birthday Morgan Shepherd!

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Youth Driven to “Do the Most Good”

Monday, October 17, 2011

What an inspiring gal!

Katie Wilkinson, a high school junior in Tempe, AZ started a “Red Kettle Club” at her school, a student group that will support the community year-round by means of The Salvation Army.

Through social media outlets, a PowerPoint presentation, and persuasion, Katie attracted more than two dozen students to the first meeting to tell fellow students about her idea. Club members will coordinate fundraising events in Tempe to support Salvation Army Programs that Help – an initiative that encourages donors to help community members in need.

She’s already planned the first event- an all-day bell ringing affair outside of Kroger’s on December 3 to benefit the homeless.

Inspired by her parents’ volunteer efforts her entire life, Katie is “Doing the Most Good” in their footsteps. We’re amazed at her love and dedication!

Check out the original article here.

Want to “Do the Most Good” in your community? Visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org and type in your zip code in the upper right corner to contact your local Salvation Army.

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