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.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Haband Apparel & Footwear needs your affection to donate to The Salvation Army. For every 1000 new ‘Likes’ on Facebook, Habard has offered to donate $1,000 worth of clothing to The Salvation Army!
Click Here to ‘Like’ Habard on Facebook. From now until September 12, every new fan will count towards a donation.
Donating to a Salvation Army Thrift Store benefits our Adult Rehabilitation Centers nationwide. Each center provides the spiritual, social and emotional assistance for adults who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves. Click Here to hear personal testimonies from those whose lives have been forever changed thanks to your donation.
You can learn more about Haband by visiting their website at www.haband.com.
Friday, September 2, 2011
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Greenbay, Wisconsin warmly welcomed the community at the grand opening on Saturday, August 20 after seven years in development.
Area children and families are excited as the impressive 95,000-square-foot Center will provide a great source of entertainment and learning opportunities throughout the year. The Center includes a fitness center, performing arts auditorium, swimming pool, library, computer laboratory, dental clinic, dance studio, gymnasium and more!
The official dedication and ribbon-cutting of the $24 million facility took place on August 27. Following the dedication, the Center hosted the “Kroc and Roll Ball”, a 1950’s-themed opening gala honoring founders Ray and Joan Kroc. The theme recalled the decade that Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s.
Gala guests enjoyed dinner and music provided by an appropriately themed barbershop quartet.
“The impact of this facility will go far beyond a building,” Captain Ken Shiels, Brown County coordinator, stated. “It will be a place for kids, families and individuals to develop new interests and life-changing and life-affirming skills. The Kroc Center is an extension of our mission to serve people as our resources allow, raising people up and strengthening, encouraging and enriching their lives.”
The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers are being constructed in various cities across the country in an effort to provide opportunities that facilitate positive, life-changing experiences through art, athletics, personal development, spiritual discovery and community service.
There are currently 13 Centers across the country, with ten in the works. Each center is open to people of all ages and income levels.
You can learn more about the Greenbay Kroc Center by visiting their Facebook page or Website.
For more information on The Salvation Army Kroc Centers, please Click Here.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Let’s be honest. We all have that one pair of jeans we’ve been holding onto that were either:
a) way too expensive
2) nostalgic or
3) reminiscent of smaller sizes past.
It’s time to upgrade! And now that The Salvation Army has partnered with Stein Mart stores, there’s even more incentive to make the break from that incorrigible pair.
Pass on that denim-love to someone in need!
Stein Mart stores’ annual Denim Trade-In Event begins next week! From September 6-11, you can recycle your old threads in exchange for new denim at a discount. Your old jeans will be donated to your local Salvation Army.
Stein Mart stores offer fashion merchandise, awesome service and presentation at competitive prices. Check out more info on their website or Facebook page!
Your donation supports The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers nationwide. Learn more by Clicking Here.
Monday, August 22, 2011
The Kroc Center of San Diego received a special visit from San Diego Chargers’ Marcus McNeill! The acclaimed Offensive Tackle stopped by the Kroc Center Day Camp to encourage “getting fit and having fun” as part of his mission to end childhood obesity.
Whether its food banks, blood drives, or scholarships, the San Diego Chargers football team has a long-standing reputation for helping the San Diego community.
Marcus was greeting by Majors Lee and Michele Lescano. Along with discussing the importance of exercise and nutrition, Marcus also guided the kids (300 of them!) through various physical challenges. You’ll get to see just how much fun the Kroc Center Day Camp really is by watching the video below!The Kroc Center Day Camp program provides children the opportunity to play and grow in a positive and safe environment. We strive to develop the whole child- mentally, physically, and emotionally through structured group activities that aid in socialization and self-confidence,
For more information on The Salvation Army Kroc Centers, please visit our website by clicking here.