It’s a Record: $142 Million in Giving!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank you, America! The Salvation Army raised $142 million in Christmas Red Kettles during the 2010 season, setting a record for the sixth straight year!

This is great news considering how much more need we’ve seen across the country, and these funds will go to support our many programs year round.

Wow. It was a busy Red Kettle season, to say the least. We used many of our traditional efforts, from the volunteer bell ringers you probably saw on every corner, to our annual Thanksgiving Day Kickoff at Cowboys Stadium. Plus, we had a few new ideas up our sleeves, like our Rock the Red Kettle Concert and a new iPhone app.

When it all comes down to it, though, we couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thank you for your generosity. And thanks to our many corporate partners for your continued support. We’re very grateful for all of your help with assisting those in need!

If you’d like to know more about our record Red Kettle Season, check out our official press release here.

Or if you’re more of a visual person, you may prefer this cool fact sheet:

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Their Tweets Give the Homeless A Voice. What Can Yours Do?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As much as people like to bash social media, sites like Facebook and Twitter have played crucial roles during recent global events.

From serving as the one of the very few connections between earthquake-shaken Haiti and the outside world, to helping organize revolutionary protests in Egypt, social media is proving to the world stage that hey, maybe there’s more to this than just letting virtual friends know the scoop on our relationship status.

There’s a lot of good that can come from this stuff if we use it well.

A few New York interns appear to have already figured that out. As a part of their project “Unheard in New York,” these interns gave four NYC homeless men their own prepaid cell phones and Twitter accounts with the purpose of helping them tell their stories. Every day Danny, Derrick, Albert and Carlos tweet about what it’s like to live on the streets, the struggles they face, and how they came to be homeless. From once feeling like they didn’t have a voice, they now have thousands of people following, talking with, and learning from them on Twitter.

If these tweets can give a voice to the homeless, what can your tweets do? How can your Facebook status become more than just the status quo? We want to hear your ideas for using social media to do good.

I’d like to suggest one way you can get started – connect with The Salvation Army online. We’re on Facebook (The S alvation Army USA) and Twitter (@SalvationArmyUS). We share how we’re serving people in need every day and opportunities for you to be a part of it.

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NASCAR’S Morgan Shepherd Invites Kids To Tour Pit Row

Friday, February 18, 2011

Less than 24 hours to go til race day at Daytona and The Salvation Army will be front and center, displayed on the hood of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd’s #89 car. (Haven’t heard about this yet? Get updated at our original blog post here.)

Rumor has it it’s already been nicknamed “The Salvation Army car” at the race!

Plus, two kids from our local Salvation Army programs, siblings Kevante’ and Dijonae, get to attend Saturday’s race as special guests of Morgan Shepherd. Racers are even planning to hold the race for a few minutes so Kevante’ and Dijonae can walk through the track and see the cars. It’s going to be an awesome experience!

Be sure to watch the race and cheer extra loud (even if you’re tuning in from your living room) for Morgan and his Salvation Army car. Check our blog next week for photos and updates about the event, including feedback from Kevante’ and Dijonae.

The Salvation Army wants to say a huge THANK YOU to Morgan for “donating his hood” to us, and we also want to say CONGRATS! He was inducted into the Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame this past Monday.

Good luck Saturday. We’re rooting for you!

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Kindness Challenge

Friday, February 18, 2011

We need your help!

USA TODAY has launched the “#KindnessChallenge,” a Twitter campaign for charity. The top charity tweet-getters with the most creative ideas or goals from fans about how they’re supporting their favorite nonprofits will be featured in a story in USA TODAY.

Will you show your support for The Salvation Army? There’s only a few hours left – you have until 6pm ET tonight (Feb 18) – but here’s what you can do:

Finish the following sentence on Twitter:

“My #USATODAY #KindnessChallenge goal is to help (insert full name of charity or that charity’s twitter handle)….”

To support us, tweet:

“My #USATODAY #KindnessChallenge goal is to help @SalvationArmyUS …” and then let the world know what you plan to do! Need a few ideas? How about:

“…feed the hungry by donating food from my community garden.”

“…raise funds be recruiting all my friends to ring at Christmas Red Kettles.”

“…by shopping only at their Thrift Stores for a month.”

Get creative, and you can even have your friends retweet your messages.

For the complete list of rules, visit USA Today’s Kindness Blog here.

Thanks for Tweeting!

Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS

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A Community Investment

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Any time a new Kroc Corps Community Center opens somewhere in the country, we get excited just thinking about all the great programs and services that the local area will soon experience. Whether it’s fitness classes, job training courses, or after school programs, it’s overwhelming just to think about all the opportunities available. We believe the late Mrs. Joan Kroc would be very proud to see how her vision and generous endowment has developed from one Kroc Center in San Diego, CA to a growing network of Kroc Centers across the country, each deeply invested in their local communities.

This week I came across a story from The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s blog about the Kroc Center under construction in Chicago. Though it’s not slated to open until 2012, the Kroc is already investing in the community, as well as allowing the community to invest in the Center.

Eight local residents have already completed a construction training program sponsored by the Kroc’s general contractor, and their first job very well may be helping build the Kroc Center itself! It’s a unique opportunity for these individuals to become invested in the Kroc on a whole different level.

According to Chicago’s blog, the Kroc Center will create 220 construction jobs for locals during its two-year construction phase and another 200+ permanent jobs once it’s open. Read more about how the Kroc is benefiting the Chicago area even before it’s open, here at The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s blog.

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Reaching the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What would you do if you needed significant, life-changing help, but you were unable to communicate with those you depended upon for that help?

The Detroit Free Press reports there are about 655,500 deaf and hard-of-hearing people in Michigan, and it’s believed that the prevalence of alcohol abuse within the population is akin to that of the hearing community (They say about 1 in 5 people ages 12 yrs. and up have admitted to binge drinking once within a 30 day span).

Treatment for substance abuse, and even the getting to the point of being ready to seek treatment, is extremely difficult – and that’s an understatement. But those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing may face even more challenges on the road to recovery, especially in Michigan where funding falls short and there’s a lack of therapists and counselors trained in American Sign Language (ASL).

In Monroe, Michigan, The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center is filling this gap through its Deaf and Hard of Hearing Treatment Program. It’s the only day treatment program in the state that serves the needs of deaf or hard of hearing individuals with a substance abuse problem. It staffs certified and accredited interpreters and even offers a housing component for clients.

Richie Najor is one individual who receives assistance from the The Salvation Army’s Program. With one-on-one treatment from his fluent ASL therapist, Najor has been more successful in controlling his cravings and even holds down a good job.

Read more about his experience and The Salvation Army’s work in addressing the deaf community’s needs in the Detroit Free Press’ “Deaf have few options in drug, alcohol fight.”

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The Salvation Army Helps Victims in First Human Trafficking Conviction in Illinois

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big news coming from Illinois –

The Salvation Army Chicago has assisted in a case that resulted in the state’s first human trafficking conviction.

The victims, 17 and 18 year-old females, have received help from The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT (The Salvation Army’s Trafficking Outreach Program and Intervention Techniques) Program, which offers psychological and medical treatment, educational services and vocational training for victims of the sex trade. The offenders were convicted of Class I felony charges and each sentenced to several years in prison.

Illinois State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez thanked the STOP-IT Program for their assistance in this case and cooperation with other agencies. Read the full story at The Salvation Army Chicago’s blog here.

According to the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated minimum of 16,000-25,000 women and girls are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Chicago every year. We hope this groundbreaking court decision is the first of many in bringing offenders to justice and helping restore the lives of exploited survivors.

The Salvation Army’s national website offers a wealth of information and tools to educate and equip people on the subject of trafficking, as well as what we’re doing to fight it. Under the “Programs That Help” tab, visit “Combating Human Trafficking,” or simply click here for a direct link.

To learn more about Chicago’s STOP-IT Program, visit www.usc.salvationarmy.org/stopit .

If this is a cause you’d like to get involved with, check out The Salvation Army’s “The Daily Cup” app for smart phones. It’s free and provides the latest info on social justice issues, including human trafficking. Download it here.

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From Our Kitchen To Yours This Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 14, 2011

Maybe you’re cooking dinner for a special someone this Valentine’s Day, or maybe you’re celebrating with some close friends. Whatever your situation, we’ve got a tasty meal idea for you from Salvation Army Chef Josh Arnold who runs our Culinary Training Program in Louisville, KY.

He’s shared a Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo and Chocolate Covered Strawberries recipes that will help you keep things simple but sweet this Feb. 14th.

Once you’re done creating your own culinary masterpieces, read here how Chef Josh is using his kitchen to help the homeless and low-income individuals turn their lives around.

Bon appétit!

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SHRIMP FETTUCINI ALFREDO

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettuccini pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt to taste



Directions

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

2. In a large skillet, sauté shrimp and garlic in the butter for about one minute. Pour in half and half; stir. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese in one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. After all Parmesan is added, mix in parsley and salt. Stir frequently making sure it does not boil. Sauce will take a while to thicken.

3. When sauce has thickened, combine with cooked pasta noodles; serve hot.

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CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients

  • 1 12oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12 oz. package white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, brandy, coffee or your favorite liqueur
  • Approx. 50 strawberries
  • *Chopped Nuts optional*



Directions

1. Rinse strawberries and dry completely

2. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Mix in half and half and vanilla. Remove from heat.

3. Push a toothpick into the stem end of the strawberries. Dip strawberries into the melted chocolate. Turn strawberry upside down and push the toothpick into a styrofoam block, or set on very lightly oiled piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, so the chocolate will dry evenly. Allow to set.

4. Melt white chocolate and drizzle over the dipped strawberries.

*Optional – Roll freshly dipped strawberry (while chocolate is still melted) in your favorite chopped nuts.*

5. Allow to set until ready to serve.

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Share the Love this Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

“This Valentine’s Day, forget the wining and dining. Do something that matters.”

Those words are from Philanthropy Writing blogger Elaine Fawcett, and I think she’s got it right.

In her post “16 Charitable Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day, ” Elaine shares unique and practical ways to take the focus off of ourselves and really show others we care – and ‘others’ as in not just spouses and significant others. Have you ever thought of giving homemade Valentines to the sick, elderly or homeless (#5)? What about using the money you’d spend on dinner at a fancy restaurant and going to a Valentine’s themed charitable fundraiser instead (#2)? Read Philanthropy Writing’s Valentine’s post here for the complete list. (Plus, look for a shout out to The Salvation Army in #7!)

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army plans to share the love with local communities across the country this weekend and Monday – we’ve listed a few examples below. Look for similar events in your hometown, or reach out to your Salvation Army if you’d like to help find charitable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

* We Salute You: VA hospital Veterans will receive special handmade Valentines from The Salvation Army in Paris, TX. Several youths and women from the Ladies Home League have made more than 350 cards for the occasion. Additional corps, including some in TX and GA, will participate in the National Salute to Veterans by visiting their local VA Hospital.
* Dinner and A Show: Get ready for a special evening of entertainment in Astoria, NY. The Salvation Army will continue their Valentine tradition of hosting a dinner theater, complete with a surprise special performance by a professional singer. The event comes with entertainment, music, food, games, and more, all for only $15 that go to supporting Salvation Army services. Try to get all that from a fancy restaurant meal!

* 3 Days of Cookies: The Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary in Oil City, PA is hosting their annual Valentine’s Day Cookie Fundraiser. The ladies pour their love for others into baking over this 3 day event, and they’ve already made 260 dozen (3,120) cookies! The sale proceeds will help fund activities and programs. In 2010, $2,000 from their efforts purchased toys for children in need at Christmas, as well as $500 to purchase new toys for the Salvation Army’s nursery.
* Your Majesty: Students from our after school program in Steel Valley, PA will celebrate the day with a Valentine’s Day Ball, and a Valentine’s King and Queen will be crowned! Many other centers across the country have parties and events planned for kids and young adults, like our Kerrville Kroc’s Young Adult Valentine Dinner and a separate Youth Night packed with games and activities.

* YUM!: Loosen your belts for The Salvation Army Tulsa’s “Sweetheart Breakfast” of heart-shaped waffles and pancakes. The event will raise money for the United Way, and attendees will have the option of participating in a “Biggest Loser” style competition for the next 6 weeks. In Lubbock, TX the Army will also be hosting a special Valentine’s Dinner for their Men’s Club and Home League. Plus, they’re providing 800 Valentine candy bags to shelter residents and Meals on Wheels to deliver to their clients.
* Great Shopping: To show their Thrift Store shoppers, workers, and volunteers how much they’re loved, the Salvation Army in Wheeling, WV has planned a “Valentine Appreciation Lunch Special.” They’re setting up a table in front of the store with free pizza and soft drinks for the community to make the 14th an extra special day.

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Look for Us at Daytona!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[Morgan Shepard The Salvation Army Daytona car 2011. ©Phil Cavali]
Morgan Shepherd will race his #89 Salvation Army Nationwide Series car at Daytona on Feb 19. ©Phil Cavali

Tune in to NASCAR’s Daytona 500 on February 19, and you’ll see The Salvation Army racing around the track!

That’s because NASCAR veteran Morgan Shepherd has generously “donated” the hood of his #89 Nationwide Series race car to our organization and will be sporting our Red Shield and ‘Doing the Most Good’ brand promise.

At age 69, Shepherd is the founder of Victory in Jesus Racing Ministries, and while he’s got a small team with limited means, he’s still searching for opportunities to give back.

“There are millions in our country right now who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their spirit,” Shepherd said. “The demand is very high and we thought we could take our “ministry on wheels” to a higher level and assist The Salvation Army when they need it the most. I’ve been blessed in so many ways over my career, and this is a way of giving back in honor of our fans and supporters. We don’t have much, but what we have, we can “donate” to The Salvation Army.”

Get to know more about our newest partner and driver of #89 Salvation Army Nationwide Series Team through the below Q &A. We hope you’ll root for Morgan Shepherd on race day! Learn more about his efforts at WWW.RACEWITHFAITH.COM

Q: How Long have you been racing?

A: “I’ve been racing in Nascar since 1970. I’ve been racing for The Lord Jesus Christ since I found him in 1975. Over 40 years total and over 800 races.”

Q: What’s (What does) it feel like to represent The Salvation Army in Nascar?

A: “Well, you gotta respect anything that’s been around longer than I have.(laughs). But Man! What an honor. The Salvation Army has been around for what, over 130 years? They are so dedicated to “doing the most good” for those in need helping the needy and the impoverished and most importantly in a Christian manner that makes our team really excited to show off their Red Shield and “Doing The Most Good” motto branding promise at Daytona.”

Q: What is Morgan Shepherd’s motto?

A: I’ve read and been told to hang it up or retire. I’m too old, or we don’t have the funding to compete. But I feel really good, my health is fine, I take care of myself, and most importantly, I have faith. So my
motto is simple, “Faith is something you believe in when common sense tells you not to.”

Q: You say you feel great, but do you have the tools necessary to compete against drivers 1/2 to 1/3rd your age and teams with far superior technology and equipment?

A: “The most powerful tool I have is the power of prayer. Don’t underestimate it. You hear people say when things go bad, Why did God do this to me? Sometimes God has nothing to do with it. Sometimes you turn your back on him and you’re on your own. Bad things can happen to good people. They lose their jobs, their homes, their car, and then their spirit. Prayer is always the answer. Don’t turn your back on the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray hard and often and he will listen, and do what he feels is right for you.”

Q: Any racing goals for 2011?

A: “Well we certainly would like to put The Salvation Army in the winners circle, but we are a very small team with limited funding compared to many of the other teams, so realistically, I’d like to be the oldest driver in Nascar’s upper-two levels to finish a race in the Top 10. I think the record is 59 years of age. I’d like to get a Top 10. We’ve come close the last couple of years, but it just didn’t fall our way. I have faith we can do it.”

Q: Morgan, you are very spiritual. Any favorite passages from The Bible?

A: “Well I always like the story of David and Goliath. The original underdog story. David had no chance, but young David took out a rock and set it in his sling and slung it. Striking the phillistine in the head, and he fell to the ground. I feel like David sometimes. But I’d say my favorite passage would be Hebrews 12:1….LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE GOD HAS SET BEFORE US.”

To follow Morgan Shepherd and The Salvation Army Race Team, visit www.racewithfaith.com, or go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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