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.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The Salvation Army’s School of Culinary Arts in Chattanooga, Tennessee is celebrating the first graduating class of its program! As of result of their training, three students have all successfully secured jobs in the local area, and two of them have transitioned from homelessness to permanent housing.
This culinary arts program is different than your average cooking school in that it is designed to equip local homeless and low income persons with the skills they need to thrive in the food service industry, empowering them to overcome homelessness and unemployment.
Chef Terry Epps, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College, runs the 12-week program in which students get hands on training in environmentally friendly agriculture, meal preparation, and even resume and interview tips. The culinary schools wraps ups with a two-week internship in a local restaurant kitchen.
The Chattanoogan featured the following from the newspaper’s conversation with Chef Epps and a program graduate named Jasmine:
“The students are learning the skills necessary to work in kitchens which prepare daily staples such as hamburgers, as well as, more formal kitchens where complex, multiple course meals are the norm” said Chef Terry Epps. Though the focus is on marketable skills, Chef Epps has noticed additional benefits. “When my students put on their uniforms I see a boost in their confidence. They are uplifted and excited to learn and change their lives.”
“The School is proof that there is hope out there,” said Jasmine, a formerly homeless mother of two small children. “I want to change my life for the better and this program has made that possible.”
You can watch first hand interviews of Chef Epps and Jasmine HERE in a news story run by WDEF 12 about the life changing program.
Congratulations to the new graduates, and best wishes at your new jobs! We hope many others will be inspired to take advantage of this Salvation Army program. In fact, although the School of Culinary Arts is only able to take 5 students per class, there are already 20 applicants for the next class in July!
For more information about the Culinary Program and services offered by The Chattanooga Salvation Army, find them on Facebook, Twitter, and their website www.csarmy.org.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
International track star Lolo Jones paid a surprise visit to The Salvation Army’s Citadel Community Center (Corps) and Summer Day Camp in Des Moines, Iowa yesterday. Jones and an NBC television crew visited the center to help tell the story of how her family lived at The Salvation Army center during a time of homelessness when she was a child. Lolo was active in the Corps’ children’s ministries during her childhood.
After playing an intense game of dodgeball with the day camp children, Lolo encouraged them to reach for their goals.
The NBC crew captured video of Lolo Jones and the day campers in preparation for coverage of Lolo prior to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The footage is expected to be broadcast in August 2012. The film crew director said some of the video may be shown on NBC’s Today Show sooner.
Jones, an Olympic hurdler from Des Moines, is a two-time world indoor champion. She won her second outdoor national title in the 100-meter hurdles at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines on June 26 with a time of 12.69 seconds.
For more information about The Salvation Army’s work in Des Moines, visit their website at www.salvationarmy-desmoines.org.
Information provided by The Salvation Army’s Western Division.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Hunger relief organization Numana, Inc. has packaged 20 MILLION MEALS for Haiti Disaster Relief, according to the organization’s official press announcement released Saturday. The latest milestone was reached this weekend as volunteers from across the Midwest banded together at Numana community events held in Fayettville, AR, Milwaukee, WI and Pratt, KS.
In their statement the relief organization said, “Numana would like to thank first of all the thousands of people who have shown up to give of their money, energy and time to help make this happen. Rick McNary, Founder and CEO said, “We knew that if we provided people with the opportunity, they would respond overwhelmingly, and they have.” The Salvation Army deserves a special thanks as they have helped facilitate nearly half of all the meals packaged.
Fayetteville’s ‘Razorback Relief’ packaged a record 1.4 million meals in 24 hours, breaking the previous record held by Kansas City of 1.2 million. Milwaukee produced an impressive 573,000 meals, and Pratt turned out 276,00!
Thank you to everyone for your helping hands that together have made an incredible difference in the lives of Haiti’s starving population. For more information about Numana and how to be involved in upcoming events, visit their website at www.numanainc.com. You can also follow them on Twitter for the latest information and statistics @NumanaInc.
And sure to visit The Salvation Army online at www.salvationarmyusa.org for news of our ongoing service, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
Friday, June 25, 2010
The styles below look like they were ripped from the pages of a high-end fashion magazine…
But would you believe the models featured are all wearing clothes that were donated to The Salvation Army?
In Argentina, the local Salvation Army teamed up with ad agency JWT Argentina and five of the country’s top fashion designers to put together these stunning outfits, blowing away conventional ideas of thrift store style!
The goal of The Salvation Army Argentina’s “Sr. Amor” campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of recycling clothes through donation and resale, which benefits both people in need and the environment.
The pieces pictured above were auctioned off earlier this month with the funds raised going to support The Salvation Army.
Now don’t let Argentina have all the fun. Visit our site www.satruck.org to learn more about donating clothes and other items to The Salvation Army. Your generous gifts donated to our Family Thrift Stores willsupport the work of our Adult Rehabilitation Centers. You could look around stores to see if you find some new inspiring treasures for yourself!