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.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
When most young people hear the word “Compton,” the first thought that comes to mind is probably related to one or more of the prolific hip-hop artists who called it home. The city of Compton maintains a rich, although troubled, legacy of rappers and DJs who hail from its storied streets.
With music in the city’s blood, the local Salvation Army has geared their newest service initiative toward this part of the community’s culture by opening a new recording studio within The Salvation Army facility. Here, anyone is welcome to come in, sit down, and express themselves in verse. While most professional recording studios charge exorbitant usage fees , The Salvation Army’s studio offers recording services and use of their state of the art equipment for very nominal costs, making it attractive to a range of clients, from those with musical career aspirations to those newly or casually exploring music and recording.
Producer K9 talks about his involvement with The Salvation Army Compton’s new recording studio and the positive impact it has on the local community. Video: The Salvation Army’s Southern California Division.
Furthermore, it provides a safe environment for at-risk youth and individuals to get off the streets and away from the temptation of gangs, drugs, and violence. While these negative influences are glorified in many popular songs today, The Salvation Army in Compton requires that music recorded in their studio be ‘clean,’ or void of promoting such vices, so that their resources serve to build others up rather than tear them down.
To learn more about this cool initiative you can read the following article from the Los Angeles Wave that provides great insight into the founding and running of The Salvation Army’s recording studio: Salvation Army serves up rhymes in new recording studio
For more information about how The Salvation Army is serving Compton, visit their website at www.salvationarmy-compton.org.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This may be the most unique fundraiser The Salvation Army has been involved with that I’ve heard of yet…
Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner in New York recently succeeded in making the world’s largest omelet in an effort to not only break previous records but to also raise funds for designated charities including The Salvation Army. The omelet was a whopping 2,500 square feet and designed to look like a pool table! So how does one make a gigantic, pool table-shaped omelet? The recipe includes:
– 45,000 eggs
– 150 lbs butter
– 100 gallons milk
– 200 lbs cheese
– Plus: 300 volunteers, 110 tables, 14 grills, and a tractor trailer to deliver the ingredients!
Hungry onlookers were able to take a shot on the edible pool table for only $1, as well as enter into a raffle for fun prizes. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised, half of which will be donated to The Salvation Army.
We love it when people find creative ways to give back to their community, and “creative” is an understatement in this case! But did you know that this isn’t the first time Otto’s has set an omelet world record? Read more about this unique charity fundraiser here in New York’s Evening Telegram.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Check our your chance to go on a double date with two of The Salvation Army’s biggest supporters! Chris and Malaak Rock are currently auctioning off the chance for a double date with courtside seats to an upcoming Knicks
Game! Proceeds from the auction will benefit Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service, a program that Malaak started, that takes youth from the Bushwick, Brownsville, and Bedford Salvation Army
Community Centers to Johannesburg, South Africa for 2 weeks of Global Service. Other auction items include VIP tickets to The Tonight Show (and meet w/ Jay Leno), four VIP tickets to the Today Show (and meet w/ Al
Roker), and a unique folding bicycle autographed by Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and David Space. Click here to show your support for the Salvation Army and Journey for Change: http://bit.ly/93eZk1
Monday, July 12, 2010
Video from NBC 10 WBIR News
These days it’s a tough job market.
But The Salvation Army in Knoxville, TN is equipping the unemployed with the tools they need to find jobs despite the challenging climate through their Employment Assistance Program. This program recently hit an exciting milestone this month after placing its 100th client in a full-time position!
The program actually began in 2008 with a one-year grant from the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, but when the grant was not renewed, The Salvation Army’s Director of Programs Ola Blackmon-McBride, decided to continue it rather than let the program die. She has been running the program using Salvation Army resources and personnel since November.
The program averages about 24 new clients a month. More than half of those will stick with the program until they find a job. With limited resources – three computers and one telephone – Case Manager Angela Childers helps clients search for jobs, prepare resumes, write cover letters and prepare for interviews.
Childers deals with a variety of challenges that make it difficult for men seeking to turn their lives around. “Some of the men have a criminal history, most have never put together a resume and few have any experience with a computer or using the internet to find and apply for jobs,” she said. “In addition, the current economy has more qualified job seekers looking for lower level jobs.”
Childers said that the men who apply themselves are still finding work, in spite of the challenges. “If they are putting 100% into the program, it usually takes two to three weeks to find employment.”
The Salvation Army is excited for the new opportunities awaiting these 100 individuals who have persevered through our program and found new jobs, and we can’t wait for the next 100! And thank you to the staff in Knoxville for your efforts everyday in helping others turn their lives around for the better.
Members of the community who would like to support this valuable program and its effort to fight unemployment and homelessness can volunteer or provide in-kind donations, such as toiletries and bus passes as most of the men do not have transportation.
For more information about The Salvation Army Knoxville, visit their website at www.SalvationArmyKnoxville.org.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Speaking of beating the heat…
While The Salvation Army has been working hard to help others find relief from the summer sizzle, even we needed help recently with battling the high temperatures, and we were amazed by the generous aid we received in response!
When the air conditioning units in one of our Salvation Army homeless shelters in Huntsville, Alabama quit working (1 was completely shut down and the few others were only functioning at 30% capacity), the temperature inside the building reached into the 90’s, while outdoors registered above 100 degrees with the heat index. The heat was overwhelming for the shelter’s 60+ clients.
When heating & air business owner Thomas Ridgeway and his wife read a local news story about the shelter’s hardship, the Ridgeways didn’t hesitate to help. In fact, they agreed to postpone their anniversary dinner that evening, and at 11:00pm Thomas was knocking on the shelter door ready to get to work.
Vicki Thomas, director of shelter services, told me Thomas worked til 1:00am that night, and after working full days at his job, he returned to the shelter the next 3 days, arriving late in the night and each time working long past midnight. He repaired compressor motors, fan belts and leaking freon lines. Now, the air conditioners are fixed and they’re running as good as new! After all his hard work and sleepless nights, Thomas didn’t charge the shelter for his services.
Vicki recounted Thomas explaining his generosity as an overflow of the generosity he himself has received. He said the Lord has blessed him and his wife and he wants to in turn bless others, which he certainly did. Vicki called Thomas her “angel.”
Thank you to the Ridgeways for their kind service in our time of need, which enables The Salvation Army to serve others in need!
To read an account of the story covered by The Huntsville Times, click here.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This summer’s scorching heat is putting a strain on communities far and wide. New York, New Jersey, and parts of Washington, DC went into blackout this week as utility companies struggle to keep up with energy demand, and some residents remain without power. Even zoos and wildlife centers are taking extra cautious care of their animals during this time – it’s reported that sick seals in New Jersey had to be cared for with tubs filled with ice cubes! And tragically, the heat wave has already claimed the lives of several people.
As sweltering temperatures reach record levels, people across the country are searching for ways to escape the oppressive weather. During this time of need The Salvation Army is actively helping afflicted communities beat the heat and protect against the dangers of the hot spell.
In many areas facing the most extreme temperatures, The Salvation Army has opened “cooling stations” to provide refuge for the homeless, low income individuals, and others who don’t have functional cooling units at home. With temperatures reaching the triple digits along the east coast, The Salvation Army of Greater New York is helping provide shelter, supplies and assistance as the state opens doors to 480 cooling facilities! Local Salvation Army units in Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan and several states in between have also reported opening emergency cooling stations. While shelters provide vulnerable individuals and families with rest, cold water, recreational opportunities, and even relief from driving up their own utility costs at home, Salvation Army cooling stations also provide an escape from life-threatening circumstances. A Pennsylvania resident named Lisy, a diabetic, said she and her 3 grandchildren sought refuge at The Salvation Army so that her medical condition would not put her and her family at risk as a result of the overbearing heat inside her residence.
The Salvation Army is also collecting and distributing water to keep people hydrated. In Tucson, Arizona, The Salvation Army is partnering with local business Naughton’s for “Operation Chill-Out,” a city-wide drive during the summer months to collect bottled water for the homeless, as well as items like sunscreen and lip balm. One generous donation in Kansas City enabled The Salvation Army to distribute more than 200 bottles of water around the city, offering much needed relief to citizens on an ‘Ozone Alert Day.’
Even fans and air conditioning units are being distributed to those in need in what some Salvation Army community centers are calling their ‘Beat the Heat’ campaign. With the help of the local Wal-Mart, The Salvation Army in Knoxville is providing box fans and AC units, as well as helping pay electric bills, for those most vulnerable to the heat, and The Salvation Army in Oklahoma City has partnered with local energy company OG&E for their own drive. The Salvation Army in Cleveland is also in the midst of collecting fans, A/C units, and monetary donations to provide relief to members of their community.
If you would like to help us provide for others during these very hot months, or if summer’s boiling temperatures have left you in need, contact your local Salvation Army or search our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org for one nearest you.
And while you probably are already aware of these common sense tips, we’re going to say it anyway: Help yourself stay cool by wearing light colors and shade such as hats or sunglasses, drink lots of water, and avoid too much outdoor activity when possible. Also, help others stay safe by checking up on elderly or ill family, neighbors, and friends!
In the meantime, we’ll be crossing our fingers for a cold spell soon!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
You may remember when we posted on our social media sites during this past April and May that The Salvation Army was partnering with Phillips-Van Heusen in a national drive for gently used clothing, furniture and household goods donations, and anybody making one of these donations was rewarded with a $10 gift certificate redeemable at Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation [NYSE: PVH] stores, including Van Heusen, IZOD and Bass.
PVH fans and Salvation Army supporters really came through during these two months, making more than 100,000 donations to The Salvation Army. That’s incredible!
The goods received through this drive helped replenish the stock of clothing, furniture and household goods at Salvation Army Thrift and Family Stores, some of which had seen dwindling donations and additional demand during the economic downturn.
The Salvation Army is very grateful to Phillips-Van Heusen and all participants for your support. We appreciate your assistance in helping us to provide for those in need, and we hope you enjoy your gift certificate as a little thank you!
The initial release and more information about the campaign can be viewed here.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Fireworks , picnics, and its historical significance make July 4th a special holiday, but a Green Bay family will be recognizing the day in a unique way – they will be serving those in need in honor of the legacy of their son Ben.
Ben died about 3 years ago in an ATV accident. Just before his passing, he gave his food to a homeless man, an act of compassion that Ben’s dad said characterized the young boy.
Carrying on “Ben’s Wish” to help others, his parents Peter and Becky have made it a priority to give back to those in need. This weekend they will be at Green Bay’s Fourth of July celebration to collect food and monetary donations that will restock the shelves of The Salvation Army’s food pantry, helping provide for the area homeless and children in need of meal assistance.
Read the full story of how the family is helping The Salvation Army “do the most good” in honor of Ben at WBAY Action 2 News.
Peter and Becky’s strength and caring hearts are truly inspiring. Hopefully others will be encouraged by them to find an opportunity to serve others this weekend as well.
Happy July 4th!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The new Pepsi Refresh Project is on the lookout “for people, businesses, and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive impact. Look around your community and think about how you want to change it.”
The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit has stepped up to the challenge, and they are now in the running this month for a $250,000 grant for their great idea! If awarded the $250,000, they will to use the funds to provide an additional 155,000 meals and 1,000 more nights of shelter for Detroit’s residents in need. You can find all the details of their proposal at http://www.refresheverything.com/salmich.
Now The Salvation Army of Detroit needs the support of online voters to help their idea come to fruition. The Pepsi Refresh Project awards the grant to the proposal that has the most votes, with people being allowed to cast one vote per project each day during the month of July. If you’d like to support The Salvation Army Detroit’s grant proposal, 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
Don’t forget, you can vote once a day during the entire month of July! It’s an easy way that you can help make a difference for those in need.
Each month, the Pepsi Refresh Project awards up to $1.3 million in grants to proposals that receive the most online votes.
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.