A Sudanese “Lost Boy” Finds New Family, Home with The Salvation Army

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do you ever wonder, “Who are those people who so faithfully ring the bells alongside Salvation Army Red Kettles every holiday season? What is it that motivates each of them to serve?”

What makes many of these faithful servants unique is that many bell ringers have been on the other side of the social service system. They have first-hand experience at homelessness and going without – bell ringers like Peter Adup, one of the “lost boys” from Sudan who escaped to the U.S. as a teenager when his entire family perished due to political strife. He has no immediate family left, but The Salvation Army has become his family.

He currently resides at a Salvation Army homeless shelter, where he’s working to get back on his feet with gainful employment – perhaps even as a Salvation Army officer one day! In his free time, he volunteers every chance he gets, including as a bell ringer.

Peter Adup is recognized as Southern California’s “Bellringer of the Year.” (Photo from Salvation Army of Southern California’s Facebook album.)

For three years in a row now he’s been stationed at one of the highest trafficked kettles in Los Angeles.
Due to his contagious smile and amazing energy, his has one of the most successful kettles in town.

Despite all of the hardship Peter has faced in his home land – or perhaps because it – Peter’s desire is to pursue full-time ministry and return to Africa as a missionary.

His amazing attitude and contagious energy are evident to all, and those are just a few of the reasons the Southern California Division has named him “Bell Ringer of the Year.”

His is an inspiring story of triumphing despite all odds.

Information submitted by Dawn Wright from The Salvation Army USA’s Southern California Division. Thanks Dawn!

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Now That’s The Holiday Spirit

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean the spirit of Christmas has to be. Today we’re sharing with you stories of many ordinary people who have done extraordinary things to give back to those in need. If you ever think that you don’t know what you can do to foster change, we hope you’ll be encouraged by these stories of individuals of all different ages and means who find creative ways to help others.

Lynn Smith (Photo: WAVE News)

A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY WISH

Lynn Smith of Kentucky has for years adopted angels through The Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program. But this year, as she turns 50, she wanted to do something extra special – so Smith adopted 50 angels! She enlisted about 40 friends to help as their birthday present to her.

BINGO!

Mary Timmons was hesitant to take up bingo because she viewed it as gambling. However, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with the money. For the past six months, the 97-year-old has been saving all of her 50-cent bingo winnings in order to donate it to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle fundraiser. This December she dropped more than $40 in quarters into a Red Kettle outside her local Walmart.

Bob and Betty Haldeman (Photo: John Carrington/ Savannah Morning News)

CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND

For several years Bob and Betty Haldeman have created a winter wonderland of Christmas lights on their lawn (and the lawns of their neighbors) to be enjoyed by the public. They play Christmas music, serve free coffee and hot chocolate, and collect donations for The Salvation Army Red Kettle fundraiser. Over the past 12 years with their light display they’ve collected $50,000 for the campaign!

“THANKS-FOR-GIVING”

Dan and Denise Costa of Modesto, CA have volunteered with The Salvation Army since the 1970’s. They were instrumental in creating the annual “Thanks-For-Giving” event for people in need held at the Modesto convention center. Unlike a traditional food line, the event mirrors the experience of a 4-star, fine dining restaurant with linen table cloths, garnished tables, plated dinners, music and entertainment, games for kids, and full table service. Dan and Denise even write letters to the public and collection donations to fund the dinner so that it comes at no cost to The Salvation Army. More than 1,000 people enjoy “Thanks-For-Giving” each year.

SMALL COINS REAP BIG GAINS

The Salvation Army of Greensburg recently concluded its first ‘World’s Largest Kettle’ Campaign, a program aimed at filling the world’s largest Salvation Army kettle with 5.4 million pennies. While the program did not succeed at filling the entire kettle, $20,000 was raised in pennies in just one day. Donors to the program ranged from young children who contributed just a few pennies, to a man who had been saving pennies since 1963 and was looking for a special avenue to share those pennies. A local middle school had homerooms compete against each other and collected 963 pounds of pennies—an estimated $1,500.00. A local bartender collected more than 75 pounds of pennies from tips and other loose change left at the bar.

MYSTERY SANTA

Salvation Army Captain Deborah Weigner dropped off 35 Angel Tree tags at the local Walmart in Corry, PA for shoppers to sponsor a child a need before Christmas. When she returned to the store another day, the service desk attendant informed her that every single child’s wish list had been taken care of. An anonymous Ohio business owner had come through the store and seen the tags. He took each one and employed the help of other shoppers to buy everything on the tags, stating “No child shall be left behind this Christmas.” He spent more than $1,400 to make sure that they would all have a merry Christmas.

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A Merry Amusement from Mr. Bean

Friday, December 24, 2010

We’re in holiday crunch time with only one day to go til Christmas! To help keep the holiday cheer alive, we’re sharing this hilarious encounter by Mr. Bean with a Salvation Army brass band. Enjoy!

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An Unconventional Christmas Story

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One of the things I love most about Christmas is the many classic holiday tales that are told every year and yet never seem to get old. There’s Clement Clarke Moore’s poem Twas the Night Before Christmas, Dr. Seuss’ beloved How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and, if you want to count animated classics, those great TV specials featuring Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

This year I have a new favorite. It really isn’t a Christmas story at all, but it has all the makings of one, and best of all, it’s true.

In The Chicago Tribune, Rex Huppke admitted to having a “bah humbug” attitude when he hears the ringing of Salvation Army hand bells. More specifically, he said he’d like to “gather them up and throw them all into Lake Michigan.”

To make it worse, he made it his personal mission to “rid the world of unsolicited street ringing.” Who is this guy, the long lost cousin of the Grinch?

But as Huppke adamantly pursues his Scrooge-like quest against The Salvation Army, he has an epiphany that leads him to a complete change of heart. We might even say “it grew three sizes that day!”

We highly recommend you give the article a read. We’ve linked to it here. Even if you enjoy the sound of Salvation Army Bellringers, Huppke’s insight offers a poignant reminder of the purpose behind this holiday tradition.

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Follow Us on Jumo

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have you heard of Jumo? It’s a new social networking site for charitable organizations and people who want to make a difference.

Jumo means “together in concert” in the West African language Yoruba. The site is named appropriately so because its purpose is to make it easy for you to connect with organizations and issues you care about, follow the latest updates, and support your favorite causes.

The Salvation Army USA already has our own page on Jumo here.

It’s great because it grabs our online social activity from the various reaches of the web, organizes them in this one stop shop, and then adds in a few links to related charities and projects Jumo thinks you’d like. It’s a virtual dashboard of philanthropy tailored to you.

So get connected and get involved with us on this social site for a cause! Whether your cause is homelessness or hunger, social justice or education, arts or something else, follow us at Jumo and learn how The Salvation Army is serving needs in these areas every day across the country.

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So This Is What He’s Been Up to Since Those Butter Commercials

Monday, December 20, 2010

Was that Fabio – THE Fabio – pushing carts full of toys through the store checkout lane?

Yes, in fact, it was!

The flowing-haired star teamed up with The Salvation Army to provide gifts for hundreds of kids in San Francisco as a part of a Christmas shopping spree sponsored by Dig Deep SF.

The Salvation Army Western Territory has the scoop on their Expect Change blog here.

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Racing with Faith

Monday, December 20, 2010

[NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd]
NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Morgan Shepeherd is a NASCAR legend. At 69, he’s the oldest active driver in the sport, but he plays hard and endures the driving’s intense physical demands, doing it for the love of the race. He mostly does it, though, for his love of God.

Shepherd says his life was turned around in 1975 when God rescued him from a self-destructive lifestyle of alcoholism and delivered him to a life of victory. Now Shepherd continues to live his life for God and shares his good news through Victory in Jesus Racing Ministries and charitable fund.

[Morgan Shepherd]
Salvation Army officers from Cincinnati drove to Wilmington, NC to help Shepherd with the event.

The Salvation Army had the privilege of teaming up with Shepherd last week as he visited Wilmington, NC during the second leg of a charity trip. During the day’s event, fans came out to meet Shepherd and get up close and personal with his race equipment, including his race hauler and his Victory In Jesus #89 race car.

[Morgan Shepherd]
Shepherd’s Victory in Jesus #89 race car

If you look carefully at the car, you’ll see something that we think is pretty cool – The Salvation Army logo and our “Doing the Most Good” slogan!

Shepherd said while many people know The Salvation Army is “Doing the Most Good” during the holidays, he wants to spread the word that we serve those in need all year long.

[Morgan Shepherd]

“They change lives in the spirit of the Lord. I’d like to try to help them help others as much as possible.”

We’re proud to partner with Shepherd and encourage you to learn more about his unique ministry at www.racewithfaith.com.

And next time you watch a NASCAR event, look for our shield whipping around the race track!

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Show Us Your RTRK Photos

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thousands of you turned out or tuned in online to our first Rock the Red Kettle Concert. Thanks for the awesome support and donations! By the way, we love, love, LOVE all of your photos that have been tagged on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.

If you haven’t posted your pics yet, what are you waiting for? Tag them as The Salvation Army USA to have them linked on our Facebook page (SalvationArmyUSA) or use #RocktheRedKettle for Twitter and Twitpic. We want to see them!

Check out these shots that have already been posted by fans:

[Americana at Brand stage. Photo by @LaurenKate22]
Here’s where it all happened, at the Americana at Brand. Pic posted on Twitter by @LaurenKate22

Hanging out with New Hollow! Pic posted on Twitter by @CJAnderson626

[Emily Osment Flickr photo by lisa_hiser]
Emily Osment was a hit with the crowd. Flickr Photo posted by lisa_hiser

[One Call Flickr photo by lisa_hiser]
One Call proved to be great singers AND serious dancers. Flickr photo by lisa_hiser

[Ashlyne Huff Flickr photo by lisa_hiser]
Ashlyne Huff sang her hear out. Flickr photo by lisa_hiser

[Honor Society Flickr photo by Lisa_Hiser]
The night ended on a great note with Honor Society. Flickr photo by lisa_hiser

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Help Us Fight Against Social Injustice with ‘The Daily Cup’

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are you dedicated to fighting against social injustice?

Then download The Salvation Army’s newest mobile app The Daily Cup to stay informed, get involved, and make a difference.

The Daily Cup provides the latest info on pressing issues like hunger, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, natural disasters, and human trafficking, along with the good news of how Salvation Army programs are serving these areas of need.

With the app you can even join our mission by donating to our cause, volunteering at your local Salvation Army, or sharing The Daily Cup with friends and family.

Help us fight against social injustice. Download the app today by visiting http://www.getjar.com/Salvation-Army

Or got a camera phone? Scan our custom QR Code for another easy way to download.

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You Guys Rock!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just wanted to post a quick THANKS to everyone who turned out or tuned in to our first Rock the Red Kettle last night! What a show! We loved getting to rock out with you and sharing more about our cause.

Thanks for all the donations and incredible support. Let’s do it again!

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