Friday, October 15, 2010
You’re invited to celebrate with The Salvation Army of Philadelphia this Saturday, October 16 at the ribbon cutting of their new Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center! It’s the 9th center to open in the United States as a result of Mrs. Kroc’s generous gift in 2004, and it’s expected to double the Salvation Army’s social service impact in Philly, serving 750-1,000 people per day.
After the 1:30pm ribbon cutting, there will be a dedication ceremony, self-guided tours and free concert, along with the Center’s first worship service Sunday morning. They’re not wasting any time in opening their doors to the public, and after seeing the Kroc’s construction photos, we can’t WAIT to see the final product!
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And yes, the Center will be awesome. The three-pool Aquatic Center, two-story state-of-the art fitness center, multi-sport athletic field and community garden don’t even begin to describe all the amenities and opportunities the Kroc will offer Philadelphians. Plus, it’s going to create more than 400 jobs and $22 million in economic impact annually. I can’t think of a reason not to be excited!
We hope you can make it Saturday, and if not, find more information (and there’s a lot more interesting information that we can’t fit into this blog), visit www.SalvationArmyKrocCenter.org.
You can also find ongoing updates at The Salvation Army’s Philadelphia Kroc Center page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyPhiladelphia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/SalArmyPhilly).
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The holidays are right around the corner, and many community Salvation Army units are searching for volunteers to assist with their seasonal activities and services. The holiday season is generally the busiest time for us and the extra hands lent by volunteers make all the difference in helping us stretch our service to people in need.
Can you find time, anywhere from one hour to a few days, to help The Salvation Army serve your community this season? Maybe you’d like to help with a toy drive, be a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer, assist with meal distributions or just jump in wherever you’re needed most.
Visit your local Salvation Army’s website to see if they are offering information and sign-up for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see anything online yet, just give your community’s unit a call and ask what you can do. You can find your nearest Salvation Army by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org and typing in your zip code in the top menu bar’s “Locations” field.
Scott Bedio, Archivist for The Salvation Army USA’s National Headquarters, has volunteered as a Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringer every holiday season for the past 20 years and believes “there’s no better way to give back.”
Over the years he’s come to recognize many of the faces who pass by and donate to his kettle season after season. He says many strangers even feel compelled to talk to him about their personal stories of how The Salvation Army has helped them in times of need.
One of Scott’s favorite parts of being a Bell Ringer is seeing what he calls “generational giving” – when children, parents and grandparents share in the tradition of donating to the red kettles. He also looks forward to when his son is old enough to participate with him in his annual bell ringing tradition.
For those of you who are considering being a first time Bell Ringer, Scott offered some great advice:
Dress in Layers. Standing out in cold weather can be the hardest part of bell ringing, so covering up from head to toe can help you endure the elements with less shivering.
Be Creative. People love to hear the bell, but you can also mix it up. Scott sometimes brings his tuba and plays Christmas music when he wants to give his hands a break from ringing. Others have also been known to sing!
It’s All About Your Rhythm. If you don’t want to wear out your arm, Scott advises to not overuse your arm and elbow when ringing by keeping your bell near your waist and focusing most of your movements in your hand. But the technique of bell ringing is flexible so feel free to work out a style of your own.
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Scott what’s the most important thing people should know before they volunteer as a bell ringer?
After thinking a bit, he replied, “Have a smile on your face and enjoy the people. It’s a special time.”
Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved with? Contact your local Salvation Army today to get started.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Dallas Cowboys greats Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman announced that The Salvation Army will be the owner and operator of the newly announced Super Bowl XLV Youth Education Town (YET) in Arlington, TX.
The $2 million project will target homeless and at-risk youth in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, specifically those from neighborhoods that suffer from higher crime, drug, and gang activity levels.
The Salvation Army is honored to be a part of this initiative and have the opportunity to expand service to the community.
What exactly will the center have to offer? Everything from a fitness area and athletic fields to computer labs, music instruction, film and video production and more. Adult continuing education and drug prevention programs will also be offered, along with an expansion of The Salvation Army’s emergency financial assistance program, food pantry, and after-school programs. Learn more about NFL YETs here.
Officials say they even hope to finish it before the 2012 Super Bowl! Get more details at Dallas Morning News.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Did you know that 1 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day?
On Sunday, October 10 (10.10.10), an organization named Micah Challenge is bringing together 10,000,000 people through its worldwide Lend A Hand campaign which calls for united commitment to remembering and seeking justice for impoverished people. The Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) is partnering with Micah Challenge in this commitment to the poor.
The Lend a Hand campaign comes in response to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals to reduce world poverty by half by 2015. The campaign is a push for individuals and world leaders to not give up on this promise.
If you’d like to ‘lend a hand’ to this effort, all you need to do is:
Lend a Hand Campaign 10.10.10
1. PRAY on 10.10.10 with millions around the world for justice for the world’s poor.
2. PROMISE to be part of bringing change and commit to living a life of justice. Symbolize this promise by making a hand-print!
3. PRESS your leaders for their wholehearted commitment to eradicating poverty. Mail your handprints to Micah Challenge, who will deliver these powerful symbols as a message to President Obama. (Send to: Micah Challenge USA, 17 SE 3rd Ave. #310, Portland, OR 97214)
To sign up, or to find more information and useful materials for the Lend a Hand Campaign, visit http://micahchallenge.us/action/lendahand.html.
Leaders and members of Salvation Army churches will find helpful resources on this page specifically dedicated to helping their congregations participate in this initiative: http://micahchallenge.us/action/salvation-army.html.
Thanks for your helping hands in the global fight against extreme poverty!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Chicago’s all abuzz these days with Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s jump into the mayoral race.
But that’s not all that’s going on in the Windy City this week. City residents, along with the hopeful candidate who’s equally known for being a “workout fanatic,” may be interested in some other news-worthy buzz from The Salvation Army:
This Thursday The Salvation Army is officially breaking ground on Chicago’s Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center. Plus, the Chicago White Sox have generously donated $1 million to the construction efforts!
The future facility will be a gym enthusiast’s dream, housing an indoor sports complex, basketball and tennis courts, an aquatic center, a state of the art fitness center, a climbing wall, basketball courts and more.
But if you’re not as much an exercise enthusiast as Rahm, don’t worry. The Kroc Center will offer a lot more than just opportunities for physical activity. It will also house a Family Life and Education center and an Academy of the Arts, where Chicagoans can have access to after-school programs, job training, educational classes, and workshops that have never before been so easily accessible. The Kroc will offer a little bit of everything for almost every interest represented by Chicagoans!
In an official press release White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf stated, “Our commitment to the development of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is part of a dedication to bettering the lives of all Chicagoans. The White Sox, as a professional sports organization, are accountable to all of our fans and the entire Chicago community. We commend the Salvation Army for their work and devotion to the growth of people of all ages, races and genders, and we hope White Sox Charities’ support will help the organization achieve its mission of building a community center to serve Chicagoans of all ages.”
If you can’t make it to Thursday’s groundbreaking, learn more about this awesome community initiative at the Kroc’s website www.kroccenterchicago.org or on the center’s Facebook page (KrocChicago).
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A recent study found that parents play a significant role in influencing their children when it comes to supporting charitable causes.
Children of parents who do not support a nonprofit are only 25% likely to grow up to be a donor, while parents involved in nonprofits increase their children’s odds of becoming a donor more than 80%.
This begs the question, what kind of example do we want to set for our kids? What habits and beliefs are we instilling in them? Most of us agree that raising responsible and caring citizens is important, especially with the growing rate of need in our communities.
Now you don’t have to be a board member of a charity to teach your kids about generosity and responding to need. I remember what a strong impact my parents left on me when they faithfully put a check into the church offering plate each Sunday and gave me a dollar or few coins so that I could contribute as well.
In a post titled, “Early Lessons in Generosity,” CBS Moneywatch’s ‘Bank of Dad’ blog offers some broad but practical suggestions about how parents can teach kids about philanthropy, such as bringing them with you next time you donate your family’s used items to a Salvation Army Family Thrift Store.
And with the holidays just around the corner, there will be plenty of opportunities for adults to involve kids in giving. How about letting them drop some money into a Salvation Army Red Kettle or pick out a toy for our Angel Tree program for a child in need?
If we want to ensure that the next generation understands the importance of giving, the best way is to make giving a family affair.
For information on programs and services offered by The Salvation Army, visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
During July 2008-July 2009, 1,574 victims of domestic abuse were denied emergency shelter in Indiana due to lack of space, according to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. During that same time period 53 deaths in the state were caused by domestic abuse.
Donna*, an abuse victim and mother of three, feared for her life but found it hard to escape from her husband’s escalating violence because she didn’t know where to go.
The Salvation Army of Indiana is doing everything they can to make sure victims find safe shelter, and they’ve just received a $30,000 grant from The Indianapolis Foundation that will help in their efforts.
The funds will support their Emergency Bed Space program run by The Salvation Army’s Women’s and Children’s Shelter, which coordinates space availability at area shelters and makes sure every spot is filled. The grant will help cover everything from meals, linens, and mattresses to housing costs and more.
Through the Emergency Bed Space program, Donna* was able to find room at a shelter for her and her children where they stayed for several months before saving up enough money for a place of their own (read her testimony here).
Since 2003, hundreds of families and individuals with stories like Donna’s* have found shelter and new beginnings through The Salvation Army Indiana’s Emergency Bed Space program, and The Indianapolis Foundation’s generous grant will help ensure hundreds more continue to do so.
Read the full story about the grant award and The Emergency Bed Space program at The Salvation Army Indiana’s website http://salvationarmyindiana.org/.
*Name changed to protect confidentiality
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Southwest Airlines announced they’re buying Airtran, a merge is pending between Continental and United, and Delta’s staying put but faces increased competition from these other guys.
A lot’s going on between these airlines, but most of us don’t get too involved in the nitty gritty details of their business beyond wondering about the future of our fare prices.
But, before you turn your attention to the next news headline, one more thing worth considering is the fate of your frequent flier miles. I know, you’re probably thinking, “C’mon Salvation Army, where are you going with this?”
As airlines make changes within their companies, some are also changing the stipulations around their frequent flier miles such as implementing expiration dates. Rather than just letting the miles you’ve accumulated here and there expire, consider donating them to The Salvation Army.
Just as we accept monetary donations and gifts-in-kind to help people in need, we also accept your donated airline miles. They are used to quickly transport Salvation Army emergency personnel and volunteers during times of national disaster, including Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. They also provide travel to individuals and families who are in need of emergency medical attention and social services outside of their area.
Recently The Salvation Army helped a sexual trafficking victim return home to South America, and an American soldier was also able to attend his father’s funeral across country days before he shipped out to Afghanistan – all thanks to your generously donated airline miles.
Visit our website HERE to see how your United and Delta miles can help ‘do the most good’ for people in need.
Monday, September 27, 2010
After decades of being trapped in prostitution, two women from Omaha finally escaped the streets with the help of The Salvation Army.
Today we’re sharing a little bit of their stories, as published by Omaha’s local news channel KETV ABC 7, of how they turned their lives around.
For general information on The Salvation Army’s work to fight abuse and exploitation, click here. For specific information on The Salvation Army of Omaha and its Wellspring Program, visit their website www.givesalvationarmy.org.
Former Prostitutes Tout Program As Lifesaver
Wellspring Program Helps Get Women Off Streets
September 27, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. — Two women, who have been working the streets of Omaha as prostitutes for more than 10 years, said they found a way out through a program sponsored by The Salvation Army.
The women said they realized their lives were going nowhere and were just getting worse. They said they got help from the Wellspring program.
With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they wanted to get their stories out.
Delores (not her real name) is about 45 years old. The high school graduate and one-time college student worked the streets for more than a decade.
“While enrolled in college, I just got mixed up with the wrong people and from there it went downhill,” she said.
Delores said she turned to drugs and then to prostitution. She said she couldn’t stop.
“It was a very dangerous life I was living,” she said.
Cece (also a pseudonym) has a similar story.
“It was like an adventure. It was fun. I was like getting this money. It was fast and I really didn’t have to do nothing to get it,” she said.
Cece was a prostitute for nearly 20 years. She said what started out as being fun, eventually proved otherwise.
“Throughout those 20 years, I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been raped, I’ve been shot at,” she said. “By the grace of God, I’m sitting here telling my story today.”
If it weren’t for the Salvation Army’s Wellspring program, both women said there is no telling where they’d be.
“Prostitution isn’t a choice,” said Mary Raynovich, the director of Wellspring. “We find that it’s really about a lack of choices.”
Raynovich said she works with as many as 100 women every month. About 73 percent of them have been sexually abused and roughly 90 percent of them are chemically addicted, she said.
But, no matter how troubled some of the women are, Raynovich said they are not a lost cause.
“No matter how long you’ve been on the street, there’s hope. You can get off the street,” said Raynovich.
“I believe that if I reach out and let them (other prostitutes) know that there is hope, they will have something to cling to,” said Cece.
“If it wasn’t for our case manager in the program, I know I would still be lost,” Delores said. “I would still be out there, or dead.”
The stories from women like Cece and Delores have helped the Salvation Army secure a $25,000 grant for the Wellspring program. The check will be presented at the end of October.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Happy Friday! Since it’s the end of the week, we’re keeping it simple with an easy-to-read list of news by the numbers. These curt quantities represent a mix…