A Paper Angel, A Country Star

Monday, November 8, 2010

Country music star Jimmy Wayne will be performing in Nashville tonight at the ‘A Gathering of Angels Benefit Concert’ to promote our Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program.

As an advocate of Angel Tree, Jimmy’s doing more than just promoting a good cause. He knows from personal experience the incredible hope it provides to those in need.

Jimmy survived a turbulent childhood and bounced around from foster home to foster home with his sister before ending up on the streets. During those difficult years they were also adopted angels, receiving Christmas presents from kind, anonymous donors through the Angel Tree program. The gifts were a source of cheer amidst an otherwise dark time.

The experience was so important to him that it inspired his 2004 hit song “Paper Angels,” referring to the angel shaped tags which represent the Christmas wishes of children and seniors up for “adoption.”

I wonder, did Jimmy ever imagine that one day he would be on the other side serving as a voice for a program from which he once received support? I don’t know, but the generosity of others certainly resulted in a life-changing impact on the course of his life (while a homeless teenager, an elderly couple adopted him for real and set him on the course for college and a music career).

By adopting an angel this holiday season through our Angel Giving Tree online program, you too can have a significant, positive effect on the life of a child or senior in need – we have more than 140,000 signed up this year. Just go to jcp.com/angel, or watch the video below to learn more.

Thanks for your support!

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Introducing Garbage Bag Couture

Friday, November 5, 2010

Go to your closet and pick out your nicest dress. Now throw it on the floor because you can’t be caught dead in that at tonight’s event hosted by The Salvation Army of Pittsburgh.

Forget sequins and silk. Trash bags are all the rage this evening at The 9th Annual Garbage Bag Gala where you’ll find “Pittsburgh’s classiest guys and girls” gathered for “this season’s trashiest event.”

The gala is a unique fundraiser to raise money for homeless families living at The Salvation Army’s East Liberty Family Caring Center. Instead of spending money on a new outfit, partygoers donate the funds to The Salvation Army where they’ll be used to support family center residents. Oh ya, and as a fun twist, attendees create evening attire out of plastic garbage bags!

For more information, find the Gala on Facebook (The 2010 Garbage Bag Gala) or visit their website at garbagebaggala.com.

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Salvation Army Bell Ringer Sets a World Record

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Salvation Army captain is the newest name to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records! Captain Ken Chapman from The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division set the record for continuous bell-ringing for 30 hours, 5 minutes, and 50 seconds, breaking the previous record of 28 hours and 50 minutes set in Canada. Congratulations!

But the stunt was more than just about having his name go down in history. Dressed in his Salvation Army uniform with his hand bell and a Red Kettle close by, Captain Chapman’s goal was to recruit more bell-ringing volunteers and raise awareness of the great need in his local community.

In fact, Salvation Army units across the country are looking for volunteer bell ringers. If Captain Chapman can ring a bell for more than a day straight, we’re sure some folks out there can do it for an hour or two!

Please contact your local Salvation Army to learn more about how you can sign up to be a Christmas bell ringer. We can always use more.

In the meantime, Captain Chapman is giving his arms a rest while he waits for his record to be certified by Guinness World Record officials in London.

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Angel Giving Tree is Online! Adopt Your Angel Today

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This week is the official launch of The Salvation Army and JCPenney’s annual Angel Giving Tree online Christmas gift drive at jcp.com/angel!

Now you can play Santa for children and seniors in need by adopting these “angels” and buying presents from their wish lists.

Christmas shopping for family and loved ones is a daunting holiday task for almost everyone, but it’s especially so for those who don’t have the financial means to buy gifts. Fortunately, Angel Giving Tree online provides them peace of mind when generous supporters like you lend a helping hand.

Just ask Yolanda Wheeler, a blind, single mother from Jackson, MI raising two children and her teenage sister. Her kids will have gifts this year thanks to Angel Giving Tree.

To help other families like Yolanda’s just go to jcp.com/angel to adopt someone today. You can even choose an angel in your area by searching by zip code or find one according to age and gender. You’ll also be able to find gift drop-off locations or an address to mail your presents for free thanks to UPS.

There are more than 100,000 kids and seniors across the country waiting to be adopted. With your help, you can make sure they have some very-much needed presents waiting for them under the tree when they wake up on Christmas morning.

Hurry! The deadline for adopting and shopping is December 10.

To read the our official press release, click here.

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Bell Ringers – From Festive to…Funky?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I can’t wait to see Salvation Army Red Kettles on street corners and outside store fronts and to hear the accompanying ring of hand bells.

Part of my anticipation has to do with the festiveness wrapped up in this tradition. For me, that familiar scene triggers the comforting realization that the holidays are here.

Most of my eagerness though has to do with the people. I can’t help but appreciate and respect bell ringers who have obviously taken time out of their schedule to stand on sidewalks and ring their hearts (or hands?) out in order help those in need.

My favorite is when I see a bell ringer get creative and incorporate their talents, usually singing or playing an instrument. Sure, it kicks up the “fun factor,” but mostly I love how a person’s devotion to their cause can inspire them to use their imagination and inspire others in return. With that in mind, you’ll understand my excitement when I came across this video this morning from The Salvation Army’s Northern Division (serving Minnesota and North Dakota):

I’ve seen carolers, and I’ve seen musicians, but rappers? That’s a first!

Apparently the “Salvation Souljas” made the music video to recruit more volunteer bell ringers, so I don’t know if they actually rhyme and dance when they’re manning the Kettles.

But if we happen to see an increase in funky, flowing bell ringers this season, now we know where the trend started!

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Kickin’ Off This Year’s Red Kettle Campaign Is…

Monday, October 25, 2010

The wait is over! Our National Advisory Board Chair Charlotte Jones Anderson made the announcement on ESPN’s Monday Night Football this evening…

Three-time Grammy Award winner Keith Urban has been named the featured performer for this year’s Salvation Army’s Kettle Kickoff! That means you get to watch him rock out during the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show on November 25 aired on FOX. (Read our official press release here)

But instead of watching from your couch, how would you like to catch all the action live at Cowboys Stadium?

As a part of the Kettle Kickoff promotion, fans will have an opportunity to win an expense-paid trip to the game to see Keith’s performance and watch Dallas take on last year’s Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints. Just signup to be an Online Red Kettle virtual bell ringer at www.onlineredkettle.org, and the fans who collect the most donations for people in need have a chance to win! You can checkout rules and details at www.onlineredkettle.org, but the contest has started and there’s no time to waste, so we’re including key info below as well.

May the best virtual bell ringer win!

Eligibilty: The Contest is open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older, residing in one of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. Employees, soldiers and officers affiliated with The Salvation Army and their family members are eligible to participate.

Contest Time Period: The Contest runs from October 25, 2010 through Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET.

How to Sign Up: Participants can sign up for individual Online Red Kettles on the Internet at www.onlineredkettle.org and following the directions provided.

Prize Package: The prize package includes:

* Two game tickets to the November 25, 2010, Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX

* Two field-level passes to the Keith Urban half-time performance

* One-night hotel stay for two persons at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center in Dallas in a single room with two queen-sized beds

* Two round-trip coach-class airline tickets from U.S. destinations (excluding U.S. territories and outlying areas) on a major commercial carrier, subject to seat availability

Winner: The participant whose individual Online Red Kettle has the highest monetary total of donations as of November 21, 2010 at 12 noon ET, will be declared the winner.

Tie-Breaker: In the event that more than one kettle has the exact same total, the person whose kettle was registered in the Online Red Kettle system first will be declared the winner.

Notification: The winner will be notified via the e-mail address they used to register their individual Online Red Kettle.

General Conditions: No purchase necessary.
Again, for more contest details please visit www.OnlineRedKettle.org or our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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Tonight: Kettle Kickoff Talent Revealed!

Monday, October 25, 2010

We can hardly wait to announce who will be this year’s Salvation Army Kettle Kick-Off musical talent!

Thankfully, we only have to wait just a little bit longer before the big surprise is revealed tonight, Monday Oct. 25, on ESPN’s Monday night football.

As in previous years, the chart-topping act will perform live during the nationally televised Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day halftime show.

Past Kettle Kick-Off celebrities have included Daughtry, the Jonas Brothers, Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, Toby Keith, and Destiny’s Child, among others.

So, who do you think will join their ranks in Kettle-Kick Off tradition?

Feel free to leave your guesses, and tune in to ESPN tonight to see if you’re right!

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Got Weekend Plans? Make a Difference

Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturday, October 23 is “Make a Difference Day,” the nation’s largest single day of volunteerism according to USA Weekend magazine. One of the most recognized faces out there promoting the event is NBA Star Shaquille O’Neal. He’s a stellar athlete, reality TV entertainer, father, funny-man and…lifelong volunteer.

In a feature article Shaq attributed his personal emphasis on volunteering to the examples set by his parents. He even mentions one of the childhood experiences that had the most impact on him was he and his dad filling up an entire moving truck with blankets and clothes and driving it all down to a Salvation Army homeless shelter.

What are you doing Saturday? Maybe there’s a way you can join with the 3 million other Americans who will be working to make a difference. If you’re short on ideas, contact your local Salvation Army. They may be in need of food for their feeding kitchens, administrative help for holiday events, or searching for Christmas Red Kettle bell ringers. And just like Shaq said, it could be a great opportunity to teach your kids about giving back, even if you’re just dropping off some clothes to our Family Thrift Stores.

And volunteers are not just a help to people in need – they’re a huge help to charities who have also been feeling the pinch in the sluggish economy. We recently reported that the nation’s biggest charities, including ourselves, have seen an overall decline in giving as compared to last year. Another study found that for financial reasons more than a third of donors plan to cut back their giving for the remainder of the year, but they plan to show their support in other ways.

So especially when things are tight, it’s our volunteers who really help us make a difference by stretching our resources and services so that we reach as many people in need as possible! In whatever way you give back, thanks for making a difference. Thanks for helping The Salvation Army “do the most good.”

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LIVE Video Tonight – Retirement Ceremony for Salvation Army National Leaders

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Salvation Army is about to say goodbye to a very important pair at the end of this month – our national leaders Commissioners Israel and Eva Gaither!

They’re officially retiring following a four year assignment as National Commander and National President of Women’s Ministries, not to mention 40 dedicated years of Salvation Army service around the world.

Tonight, October 22 at 7:25pm EST, the Gaithers will be celebrating their retirement with a ceremony held at the Centennial Memorial Temple in NYC. Can’t make it to New York to take part in the festivities?

We’ve got you covered –the event will be streaming on live video at www.sallytube.org. Tune in tonight and help us wish farewell to our fearless leaders!

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Donations to Nation’s Biggest Charities Drop 11%

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A new report shows that donations to the nation’s 400 biggest charities dropped 11% last year, the most significant decline in the 20 years it’s been tracked. Ranked #2 on the list, The Salvation Army was no exception to the decrease having seen an 8.4% cut in donations.

The effects of our country’s economic recession have put charities in a sort of Catch-22. More people are in need and the demand for assistance increases, but fewer resources are available to meet this demand.

We would like to point out though, that even though our total charitable donations fell during 2009, generous givers like you still contributed a record amount to our Christmas Red Kettles. Every little penny counts in our mission to indiscriminately meet human need, so thank you for digging deep!

As the holiday season approaches yet again, please consider how you might be able to help The Salvation Army serve others during this time of overwhelming need. Like the rest of the population, we aren’t immune to the economic hardships, but we are committed to “doing the most good” in all circumstances.

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