The Giving Pledge

Friday, August 13, 2010

The headlines under the newspaper’s business section seem to leave us lacking in optimism as of late.

Participation in the nation’s food stamp program hit a record high of 40.8 million in May, continuing a pattern of record highs for 18 straight months.

U.S. unemployment for July remained unchanged at 9.5%.

With the job market still struggling, the U.S. Congress passed another unemployment benefits extension for Americans without work who are trying to support themselves and their families.

Increased need has resulted in unprecedented demand for social services at many non-profits and charities, including The Salvation Army.

Bill and Melinda Gates, top, and Warren Buffett, bottom, have encouraged billionaires to donate half or more of their fortunes to charity through an initiative called ‘The Giving Pledge.’

As mentioned in our National 2010 Annual Report, some local Salvation Army units have reported a demand for services more than 400% above normal. In Hickory, North Carolina, we’ve served 75,000 more people than this time last year. And one of our food pantries in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania serves up to 50 families per week, up from last year’s 15 families per week.

The good news is it seems that with increased need there’s also been a heightened call in general for philanthropic generosity.

Recently Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett announced an initiative called ‘The Giving Pledge,’ an effort to encourage American billionaires to give half of their wealth to charities or non-profits during their lifetime or after their death. It’s an interesting idea that they hope will “draw more people into philanthropy” and “continue for generations” to come. A list of pledge signers, including George Lucas, Ted Turner and T. Boone Pickens, is available at http://givingpledge.org.

What do you think of this idea? What causes would you like to see supported by these pledge signers?

It would be wonderful if this initiative did result in more resources reaching those most in need, but thankfully you don’t have to be a billionaire to make a difference.

In fact, I would argue that Salvation Army supporters are some of the most generous people out there. This year The Salvation Army’s Christmas Red Kettle donations soared to a record $139 million. That’s $9 million more than our 2008 record, another year in which the economy and logic suggested that donations would be down. And no, these donations did not come from billionaires. Most of it came in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from regular people with big hearts.

Though many Salvation Army offices were not (and are not) exempt from the strain of limited resources amidst escalating demand, The Salvation Army was able to provide help to nearly 30 million Americans last year thanks to our benevolent donors.

So while headlines may tempt us to feel dispirited, thankfully, as our supporters show us, there’s more to the story.

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Calling All Football Fans

Sunday, January 17, 2010

At today’s play off game (1 p.m. EST) between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys The Salvation Army’s Red Kettles will be mobilized in support of The Salvation…

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Giving in any circumstance. Giving for a better world.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
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Originally featured on #GivingTuesday’s blog.  I’ll never forget the day. It was 2001, and my wife and I were serving on behalf of The Salvation Army in Haiti….

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Path to Service: Major Roni Robbins

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Many are familiar with The Salvation Army’s Kettle Bells, Family Stores, and the recognizable Salvation Army officer in uniform. But beyond the recognition of the organization, not many…

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How Your Donated Miles Can Make a Difference

Thursday, August 15, 2013
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The Salvation Army is well-known for the famous kettle bells during the Christmas season. Many are familiar with the fabulous deals and easy ability to donate to our…

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Congrats to the Boys of Fall Contest Winner!

Monday, November 19, 2012

With nearly 2,000 votes on his video, Banks Warriors 8th Grade Junior High, Banks, OR, we are pleased to congratulate Mike Markham, the grand prize winner of the…

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Salvation Army in the Islands: Part Three

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of The Salvation Army's Family Store in the Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.  Turks and Caicos.

We’re all familiar with the relatively small sacrifice required to assist those in the poorest parts of the world. Organizations like Compassion International, Samaritan’s Purse and of course, The Salvation Army are adept at providing amazingly high returns from relatively small investments, in terms of improving the lives of those they help.

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Sam’s Club Donates $500,000 to The Salvation Army!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sam’s Club, a well-known retail warehouse club with locations nationwide, is a long-standing supporter of The Salvation Army and once again, they generously put forth their efforts at a local level to help us raise money.

For the last couple months, more than 150 of the participating clubs in the western division teamed up with their communities to support The Salvation Army- and they raised a whopping $488,383!

Fundraising methods varied by location but the creative juices were certainly flowing. Among the most inventive were on-site movie nights, bowling tournaments, garage sales, cookouts, dunk tanks, car shows, silent auctions, and bake sales. One location even built a jail cell that motivated managers to raise $50 to bail out their own employees!
Although the fundraising methods differed, you can be sure that every event took place on location.

After the campaign ended, Sam’s Club employees wanted to celebrate their efforts. Participants traveled from all over the western region to meet in Kansas City for a volleyball tournament. Players received coaching from special guest Misty Mae Treanor, Olympic gold medalist volleyball champ.

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Pakistan in Recovery – A Firsthand View from A Salvation Army Officer

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yesterday we posted an updated bulletin regarding The Salvation Army’s ongoing relief work in Pakistan in response to the area’s devastating floods.

Today we are sharing the firsthand account of Major Dennis Gensler of The Salvation Army Pakistan Territory regarding his efforts in the recovering communities. Some of his narrative expands on the events described in yesterday’s bulletin, and much of the narrative provides additional detail exclusive to Major Gensler’s own experience. We hope it will provide you with a more personal view of The Salvation Army’s relief efforts and the plight of flood survivors.

“We left Territorial Headquarters Saturday 14 August at 4:30 am for the four hour trip to Islamabad to pick up other members of the Disaster team before going the remaining two hours to Charsadda. We were in two vehicles as the plan was to leave the four-wheel drive truck with the Islamabad team for their future visits to the flood areas.

We were grateful for the good organization that Captain Asif in Peshawar had arranged. Each family that was to be helped had a paper with their name and identification number on it and they were numbered from 1 to 100. After showing their identification card and giving their thumb print they were given a canvas bag with cooking utensils, pots, buckets, plates, cups, and kettles. They also received a foam mattress, a quilt and a large pillow. Everyone was very grateful for these very useful items. We did this in three places for a total of 300 families being assisted and it all ran very smoothly. We were able to have prayer at each location. We were joined by a few of the Bishops of other denominations and even a Muslim leader came and shared a few words at one of them. We also had the MPA (Member of Provincial Assembly) for the Peshawar area Prince Javed participate in one of the distributions. We are expecting to help at least 3,000 families in this area alone.

After a long day of passing out relief goods we went into Peshawar to spend the night at a guest house. Peshawar was not at all what I expected. It’s really a very large and modern place.

On Sunday morning we did some additional assessments at some of the areas affected by the flood waters. We visited some families whose small mud homes were missing walls and parts of the roof. One home had a large hole in a small bedroom where a woman was in mud up to her neck and had to be pulled out by a few men. They were already working on rebuilding some of the mud walls and in some cases they will use some bricks. It’s not that much stronger, since they don’t use cement with the bricks – only mud. One little boy in this area was holding a 9 mm pistol which he seemed to keep at his side, somewhat hidden. I wasn’t sure if it was real or a toy, but being an American in Peshawar I felt my heart race a bit. I called him and some other boys near to me for a picture. It’s hard to imagine the affect that all of this is going to have on the children. My heart was aching for each of them.

The really disturbing place that we visited was a village called Azhakhel, which as it turns out was an Afghan Refugee Camp. As I looked at the map it appears this place is right at the bend in the river. Another village just to the west is called Pabbi and they were hit just as hard. As far as we could see in either direction was total destruction. Villagers told us that there were around 15,000 families in these places, but we couldn’t verify that.

The work of recovery and rebuilding here in Pakistan will take years. They were already so far behind, but this will just send them back even further. I wish I could rely on the generous gifts from around the world to give what is necessary, but considering how Pakistan has become alienated from so many I don’t see that happening. I wish more people could see the Pakistan that I have come to see in the last six months. I’m certain they would give more.”

If you would like to support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts in Pakistan, you can donate by clicking here.

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2010 Online Annual Report Now Available

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Salvation Army has released its 2010 online annual report, available at http://www.salvationarmyannualreport.com/.

The theme of this year’s report is “Shine” – The Salvation Army strives to be a shining light of hope in communities nationwide. As we continue to navigate through difficult economic times, we’re encouraged by the stories we hear each day from across the country. Some of these stories are shared in this report — from an after school program in St. Paul, MN; to a GED course in Tucson, AZ; a family shelter in Akron, OH and a Boys & Girls Club in Tulsa, OK.

The people you see in these videos, from teenagers to an 80+ year-old woman, are telling their real, personal accounts of how The Salvation Army has helped them turn their lives around. Their stories are truly inspiring and stand as a reminder of why we do what we do every single day.

As one of the oldest and largest social service charities in the United States, The Salvation Army provided help to nearly 30 million Americans last year alone. During our previous fiscal year, The Salvation Army:

* Served 64 million meals to people in need
* Helped nearly 1 million Americans following disasters
* Sent 180,000 unprivileged kids to summer camp
* Counseled 370,000 individuals with drug and alcohol rehabilitation

Thank you for your support that has helped make our service possible. Learn more through our annual report about The Salvation Army’s diverse programs and services utilized by those in need last year.

And please help us spread the word – Tweet, Facebook and email the report to friends, family, neighbors – anyone who might want to learn that The Salvation Army is about a lot more than thrift stores and kettles! Check us out and find more information on:

* Facebook (www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyUSA)
* Twitter (www.twitter.com/salvationarmyus)
* National Website (www.salvationarmyusa.org)

Thanks again for your continued support of The Salvation Army!

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