Congrats, Culinary Grads!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Congratulations to the newest graduates of The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program in Louisville, Kentucky! Chef Timothy Tucker’s program marked its 5th anniversary last week with a ceremony recognizing 10 more individuals who have successfully completed the intensive, hands-on courses. The students, all of whom are either homeless or living below the poverty line, began their classes about 10 weeks ago with little to no knowledge of the kitchen and now are equipped with the skills they need to be competitive candidates for employment in the food and hospitality industry.

And as an exciting Program first, alumni Jackson Hodges was awarded a two year scholarship valued around $40,000 to Sullivan University where has the opportunity to study either culinary arts or baking and pastries!

Chef Tucker’s program has been gaining attention around the community and across the country for its innovative way of fighting homelessness and poverty. This formally-trained chef left a lucrative career and joined The Salvation Army, where he’s invited the disadvantaged and destitute to join him in the kitchen. As they work over cutting boards and stove tops, there’s more than just great food being served. Somewhere along the way the students have cooked up hope, empowerment, and a permanent solution towards self-sufficiency.

Read more about The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program on our Salvation Army national blog here and at the Culinary Program’s websites www.cheftimothytucker.com and www.cheftimothytucker.blogspot.com. You can also show them your support by following them on Facebook!

Again, congratulations grads! We can’t wait to see the many opportunities that await you.

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Kerrville, TX Kroc Center Nears Completion

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Kerrville, TX is well on its way to completion, and with the exciting progress we’ve seen in construction thus far, we can hardly wait until its official opening in less than 3 months! The Center is going to be an awesome addition to Texas’ beautiful Hill Country.

The Kroc Center already has its own website up with information about the Center’s history, facilities, church schedule, membership rates, photos, and a future blog. Check it out at http://kerrvillekroc.org/.

And it’s obvious The Salvation Army is excited for the Kroc Center to be a part of the Kerrville community – its Facebook page is blowing up every day with posts about fun events and community services available around the area. Stay up to date by finding ‘Kerrville Kroc Center’ on Facebook and add it to your Page Favorites!

Salvation Army Capt. Brett Meredith spoke with the San Antonio Express-News about what the Center will mean for Kerrville. Here’s a brief excerpt of reporter Zeke MacCormack’s article, “It ‘isn’t your grandmother’s Salvation Army’”:

“This isn’t your grandmother’s Salvation Army,” Meredith said of the 48,000-square-foot community center, which was underwritten by funding from the late Joan Kroc, whose husband, Ray, founded the McDonald’s franchise.

“It’s a holistic ministry of the body, mind and soul, and will allow entry on level ground for people of differing socioeconomic backgrounds,” he said Tuesday.

“We’re very, very fortunate to be chosen,” Kerr County Judge Pat Tinley said. “It provides an opportunity to fill some voids in services that were needed by the community.”

The center will include a Boys and Girls Club of America, a venue for the Hill Country Children’s Theater, after-school programs for up to 120 kids, and summer nutrition programs.

It will be able to accommodate 1,000 people per day in the summer, Meredith said, adding he hoped membership would exceed 5,000.”

Pretty cool, huh? And that’s only a very few of the many services and opportunities offered by The Salvation Army’s Kerrville Kroc Community Center. For more information about the Kerrville Kroc Center, visit their website at http://kerrvillekroc.org/.

Learn more about how the generous $1.5 billion donation of the late Mrs. Joan Kroc made the construction of this Salvation Army Kroc Community Center, as well as others like it around the country, possible by visiting The Salvation Army’s website here.

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‘Pepsi Refresh’ Competitors Form Partnership to Fight Homelessness

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You may be familiar with the Pepsi Refresh Project that we’ve mentioned recently on our social media sites, but if not, here’s a quick recap: The Pepsi Refresh Project awards up to $1.3 million every month to people, businesses, and non-profits for ideas that will positively impact communities. Grants are awarded according to ideas that earn the most online votes within the $5K, $25K, $50K, and $250K categories.

Several Salvation Army units are in the running this month with their own original, creative ideas of how to improve their local communities. Two of these units have proposed plans focused on serving the homeless population, and they need your votes for the plans to come to fruition.

In the $250K grant category, The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division would use the funds to provide an additional 1,000 nights of shelter for Detroit’s homeless, plus 155,254 more meals to needy seniors, families and individuals through food pantries and mobile feeding trucks. They already provide more than 5,000 meals to people every day! You can help them achieve their goal by voting for this idea once a day, every day until August 31 at http://www.refresheverything.com/salmich.

In the $50K category, The Salvation Army Knoxville would use the grant to “Refresh” their Women’s Transitional Housing Program dormitory. The facility has housed hundreds of women, an average of 150 per year, for thousands of days using the same used beds, mattresses, lockers and partitions obtained when the program began in 1997. Purchasing new housing items through this grant would provide the women greater safety, privacy, and comfort, increasing their potential for success in rebuilding their lives. You can support this great idea by voting once a day, every day until August 31 at http://www.refresheverything.com/knoxredshield2010.

While competition tends to almost require an “every man for himself” mentality, these Salvation Army units have actually partnered with other competitors of the Pepsi Refresh Project to promote one another’s projects among their supporter bases. Why would they do that? Because these diverse organizations from Connecticut to Washington state are pooling their efforts for the greater cause of fighting homelessness! Since forming the unlikely alliance, the organizations have moved up in the vote rankings, meaning they are all that much closer to their shared aspiration of better serving some of most vulnerable and needy members of our communities. To see the list of these organizations and read their proposals to help the homeless, click here: http://pep.si/a1pWmF.

Don’t forget, you can vote once a day, every day for each idea until August 31. Helping support The Salvation Army and these great ideas is as easy as a click of a mouse!

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Anonymous Donation Gives Homeless Children a Special Summer Break

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teonnia, Shon, Gladys, Annette, Andrew, Diamond, Jynxy and about a dozen other children traveled from Charlotte, NC to our nation’s capitol this July for a summer vacation. Amid the crowds of Washington, DC tourists the group of 18 kids blended in among the masses of other visitors, probably looking like the many school groups that make annual summer treks to the city. However, the story behind the young travelers’ trips was certainly unique.

The kids are residents of The Salvation Army Center of Hope in Charlotte, NC, a homeless shelter for women and children that currently houses more than 300 people. Normally these kids would not have the opportunity to take a vacation as their parents strive just to find housing and provide food for their families, but the generosity of an anonymous donor made it possible for the children to escape from life’s challenges for a short while and just have fun being kids.

The children enjoyed simple pleasures, like staying in a hotel and eating out at restaurants, as well as experienced the unique history and character of Washington, DC. They toured the national monuments, viewed exhibits at some of DC’s most popular museums and even took a boat ride (a first for at least one child) down the Potomac.

To top off their adventure, the group even met with their U.S. Representatives for a personal and candid discussion!

The Charlotte Observer ran an interesting story about the trip with several quotes from the kids in an article called, “Away from the shelter to a Washington vacation,” which you can read by clicking here.

The contributions of the kind anonymous donor made it possible for The Salvation Army to provide these kids not only with shelter and food they receive at home in Charlotte, but also encouragement, inspiration, and a unique educational opportunity through this invaluable experience. In fact, all donations, regardless of size or amount, from generous Salvation Army supporters across the country help us serve those in need every day, and this story is just one of countless others in which lives have been affected for the better. For more information about contributing monetary support or gifts-in-kind to The Salvation Army, visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org and www.satruck.org.

You can also learn about the many services offered by The Salvation Army of Charlotte at their website www.salvationarmycharlotte.org/.

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Innovative New Equipment Helps Salvation Army Stretch Services for Area’s Hungry

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Salvation Army in Lubbock, TX has a brand new piece of equipment called the Rapid Response Unit that will help feed more people and boost efficiency. It’s not only the first of its kind, it’s also the only of its kind – no other Salvation Army in the nation has one yet!

According to their Facebook page, The Salvation Army of Lubbock says the Rapid Response Unit is small enough to fit in a truck bed or trailer and will expand their reach to 150 miles beyond the service area of Salvation Army canteens, larger mobile kitchens also used to serve food and drinks during emergencies.

The Rapid Response Unit was designed for on-the-street feedings and can hold up to 12 food trays, ice chests, drink containers, has plenty of room for storage and can be operated by one person. Salvation Army personnel are excited about serving the community with this versatile new equipment!

Check out a story on the Rapid Response Unit run by local news station FOX 34 here: Local Salvation Army reveals new, innovative equipment

Find more information about this and services offered by The Salvation Army Lubbock on their Facebook page or visit their website at http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/.

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Scout’s Service Project Lends Amazing Results Benefitting Salvation Army

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When 18 year-old Kevin Grosso set out to accomplish his Leadership Service Project in order to earn his Eagle Scout designation, it sounds like even he was surprised by what he was capable of.

The Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project is the culmination of a scout’s training and an opportunity for him to demonstrate his leadership skills. After deciding against some initial project ideas, Kevin determined he wanted to do something that the community truly needed. He then approached his local Salvation Army in Nashua, NH asking how he could be of greatest service to them.

The Nashua Salvation Army just happened to be down to their last few diapers, which they said is always a significant need, so Kevin’s project became suddenly clear: a diaper drive.

In four months, by setting up drop-off stations, seeking donations, and organizing events, Kevin collected an amazing 15,500 diapers, a year’s supply for the Army!

Thanks, Kevin, for your hard work and choosing The Salvation Army as your partnering organization. Our clients will benefit greatly from the diapers you’ve worked tirelessly to collect.

And congratulations on earning your Eagle Scout rank. You earned it!

Read Kevin’s story in full here at The Nashua Telegraph.

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Back to School Drives Prepare Disadvantaged Kids for Academic Year

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

No child wants to have to think about going back to school after experiencing the freedom of summer vacation, but The Salvation Army is thinking ahead for them….

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Financial Mentorship Program Pairs Experts with Those in Need

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Salvation Army’s mission statement declares we serve to “meet human need.” Sometimes this looks like providing for the moment’s immediate need, and other times it means providing with a long term perspective by empowering the disadvantaged with the knowledge to better sustain themselves.

New York’s Newsday.com highlighted a great local Salvation Army response that morphed into an initiative to do both.

When calls from thousands of laid-off workers seeking financial aid inundated the office of Charles Roberts, Area Coordinator for The Salvation Army in Suffolk County, NY, Roberts recognized an opportunity to serve an overwhelming need shared by the community. He knew limited grant funds from Target would help cover some callers’ financial burdens, but Roberts wanted to provide a more valuable resource that would last beyond the next bill.

That’s where he found the inspiration for Families@Home, a financial mentoring program that matches families from Suffolk County with a financial expert in addition to offering monetary assistance towards bills. The idea is to meet emergency needs while also providing knowledgeable professionals to guide families in making wise choices in the long-term.

Read NewsDay.com’s full coverage of the story here: ‘Salvation Army offers financial mentoring’

Many members of the community have taken advantage of the program, but it’s reported funding has almost run out. If you would like to support The Salvation Army’s service to those in financial need, contact The Salvation Army in Suffolk County, NY at 631-363-6100.

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Last Week to Vote and Help Refresh Detroit!

Monday, July 26, 2010

There’s only one week left to help The Salvation Army ‘Refresh’ Detroit, so be sure to get your votes in (remember, 1 vote per cause each day)!

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit has a great idea to use $250,000 of Pepsi Refresh Project grant funds to serve members of their community who are most in need. They’ve set up a plan to provide an additional 55,254 meals and 1,000 more nights of shelter to homeless and at-risk individuals and families. You can find all the details of the proposal at http://www.refresheverything.com/salmich.

The Salvation Army of Detroit is one of the top organizations in the running and needs the support of online voters to earn the grant. If you’d like to support The Salvation Army’s work in supporting families and individuals in need, just follow these easy steps:

1. Visit their proposal page under the ‘Food and Shelter’ category at http://www.refresheverything.com/salmich.
2. Click ‘Vote for This Idea’
3. Follow the prompts

Thanks for your support!

For more information about how The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is “doing the most good,” visit their website at www.salmich.org or find them on Facebook and Twitter @salmich.

For additional background on the Pepsi Refresh Project, click here.

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Formerly Homeless Families Find New Hope in New Houses

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This summer in Glendale, California, one family made a seemingly ordinary move into a new 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment within a small complex pleasantly named Chester Village.

However, for this mother, this was an extraordinary event as it was the first time in several years that she and her young children were finally all living together under one roof. For her, this new home represented a world of fresh beginnings and opportunities after overcoming substance abuse and homelessness, struggles that contributed to the state at one point removing her children from her care. But now, after showing her commitment to stay clean, she’s found a chance to turn her life around and offer her family stability in their new home at Chester Village.

In fact, all the families living in the 4 unit complex of Chester Village share something in common with this experience of hardship. That’s because the apartments are a unique development by The Salvation Army of Glendale meant to house formerly homeless families in order to help them transition into a stable and self-sufficient lifestyle. To qualify for housing at least one parent must have a disability stemming from substance abuse, but in order to reside in the apartment they must also have completed a substance abuse program and commit to sobriety, as well as stay for 3-5 years and show a pursuit of more education or job skills training.

The Salvation Army, with the support of the city of Glendale, overcame many obstacles over several years before finally seeing Chester Village open to accept its first occupants, but just the impact it has had already in inspiring and transforming families once devoid of hope has made the pursuit worth it.

Read more details about Chester Village’s official opening and resident testimonies in an article featured by Glendale News-Press: An army of support

Additional information about how The Salvation Army’s Glendale Corps is doing the most good in their community can be found on their website at www.glendalecorps.org.

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