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.
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!
Check out the full news story here.
For more information on The Salvation Army’s Programs, Click Here.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
We got such a kick out of this picture we just had to share! This gigantic kettle bouncer showed up at the Wayne-Westland Salvation Army Corp’s Annual Summer Block Party on August 27. In addition to bouncers, the event included live entertainment from Christian artists, carnival games and fair food. The best part of the day? The local police department donated 30 bicycles to be given to local residents. Read more here.
The event was also a great opportunity to encourage volunteerism and to showcase what The Salvation Army does each year to help down-trodden communities and individuals in need.
Are you looking for ways to help your community? The Salvation Army is always in need of extra hands! To find volunteer opportunities or to find more information about helping your local Salvation Army, please visit our website by Clicking Here.
To learn more about The Salvation Army, please visit our website.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
We’re happy to announce that Major George Hood, Community Relations and Development Secretary of The Salvation Army National Headquarters was appointed as a member of the Panel of Religious Sector Representatives for The Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations.
The Commission was formed in January, 2011 in an effort to focus on the financial practices of six high-profile media-based Christian ministries.
Major Hood will be one of 25 leaders from a variety of faiths essential for addressing issues before the commission having to do with accountability and policy issues affecting religious and other nonprofit organizations.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Among other events commemorating 9/11 this weekend, members of The Salvation Army will join the American Bible Society in New York City on Saturday to launch The Freedom Bible. This newest edition highlights 3,500 verses emphasizing the promises and the challenges of God’s gift of freedom. This version was designed specifically for those struggling with grief and loss.
It is our hope that those remembering our country’s greatest tragedy this weekend can take solace in Christ’s promise of freedom, “The Truth will set you free”.
The Freedom Bible also invokes a deeper calling to live joyfully because of our freedom through Christ.
You can order your copy of The Freedom Bible by Clicking Here.
Click Here to learn more about The Salvation Army events taking place in New York City this weekend.