Share the Love this Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

“This Valentine’s Day, forget the wining and dining. Do something that matters.”

Those words are from Philanthropy Writing blogger Elaine Fawcett, and I think she’s got it right.

In her post “16 Charitable Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day, ” Elaine shares unique and practical ways to take the focus off of ourselves and really show others we care – and ‘others’ as in not just spouses and significant others. Have you ever thought of giving homemade Valentines to the sick, elderly or homeless (#5)? What about using the money you’d spend on dinner at a fancy restaurant and going to a Valentine’s themed charitable fundraiser instead (#2)? Read Philanthropy Writing’s Valentine’s post here for the complete list. (Plus, look for a shout out to The Salvation Army in #7!)

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army plans to share the love with local communities across the country this weekend and Monday – we’ve listed a few examples below. Look for similar events in your hometown, or reach out to your Salvation Army if you’d like to help find charitable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

* We Salute You: VA hospital Veterans will receive special handmade Valentines from The Salvation Army in Paris, TX. Several youths and women from the Ladies Home League have made more than 350 cards for the occasion. Additional corps, including some in TX and GA, will participate in the National Salute to Veterans by visiting their local VA Hospital.
* Dinner and A Show: Get ready for a special evening of entertainment in Astoria, NY. The Salvation Army will continue their Valentine tradition of hosting a dinner theater, complete with a surprise special performance by a professional singer. The event comes with entertainment, music, food, games, and more, all for only $15 that go to supporting Salvation Army services. Try to get all that from a fancy restaurant meal!

* 3 Days of Cookies: The Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary in Oil City, PA is hosting their annual Valentine’s Day Cookie Fundraiser. The ladies pour their love for others into baking over this 3 day event, and they’ve already made 260 dozen (3,120) cookies! The sale proceeds will help fund activities and programs. In 2010, $2,000 from their efforts purchased toys for children in need at Christmas, as well as $500 to purchase new toys for the Salvation Army’s nursery.
* Your Majesty: Students from our after school program in Steel Valley, PA will celebrate the day with a Valentine’s Day Ball, and a Valentine’s King and Queen will be crowned! Many other centers across the country have parties and events planned for kids and young adults, like our Kerrville Kroc’s Young Adult Valentine Dinner and a separate Youth Night packed with games and activities.

* YUM!: Loosen your belts for The Salvation Army Tulsa’s “Sweetheart Breakfast” of heart-shaped waffles and pancakes. The event will raise money for the United Way, and attendees will have the option of participating in a “Biggest Loser” style competition for the next 6 weeks. In Lubbock, TX the Army will also be hosting a special Valentine’s Dinner for their Men’s Club and Home League. Plus, they’re providing 800 Valentine candy bags to shelter residents and Meals on Wheels to deliver to their clients.
* Great Shopping: To show their Thrift Store shoppers, workers, and volunteers how much they’re loved, the Salvation Army in Wheeling, WV has planned a “Valentine Appreciation Lunch Special.” They’re setting up a table in front of the store with free pizza and soft drinks for the community to make the 14th an extra special day.

Look for Us at Daytona!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[Morgan Shepard The Salvation Army Daytona car 2011. ©Phil Cavali]
Morgan Shepherd will race his #89 Salvation Army Nationwide Series car at Daytona on Feb 19. ©Phil Cavali

Tune in to NASCAR’s Daytona 500 on February 19, and you’ll see The Salvation Army racing around the track!

That’s because NASCAR veteran Morgan Shepherd has generously “donated” the hood of his #89 Nationwide Series race car to our organization and will be sporting our Red Shield and ‘Doing the Most Good’ brand promise.

At age 69, Shepherd is the founder of Victory in Jesus Racing Ministries, and while he’s got a small team with limited means, he’s still searching for opportunities to give back.

“There are millions in our country right now who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their spirit,” Shepherd said. “The demand is very high and we thought we could take our “ministry on wheels” to a higher level and assist The Salvation Army when they need it the most. I’ve been blessed in so many ways over my career, and this is a way of giving back in honor of our fans and supporters. We don’t have much, but what we have, we can “donate” to The Salvation Army.”

Get to know more about our newest partner and driver of #89 Salvation Army Nationwide Series Team through the below Q &A. We hope you’ll root for Morgan Shepherd on race day! Learn more about his efforts at WWW.RACEWITHFAITH.COM

Q: How Long have you been racing?

A: “I’ve been racing in Nascar since 1970. I’ve been racing for The Lord Jesus Christ since I found him in 1975. Over 40 years total and over 800 races.”

Q: What’s (What does) it feel like to represent The Salvation Army in Nascar?

A: “Well, you gotta respect anything that’s been around longer than I have.(laughs). But Man! What an honor. The Salvation Army has been around for what, over 130 years? They are so dedicated to “doing the most good” for those in need helping the needy and the impoverished and most importantly in a Christian manner that makes our team really excited to show off their Red Shield and “Doing The Most Good” motto branding promise at Daytona.”

Q: What is Morgan Shepherd’s motto?

A: I’ve read and been told to hang it up or retire. I’m too old, or we don’t have the funding to compete. But I feel really good, my health is fine, I take care of myself, and most importantly, I have faith. So my
motto is simple, “Faith is something you believe in when common sense tells you not to.”

Q: You say you feel great, but do you have the tools necessary to compete against drivers 1/2 to 1/3rd your age and teams with far superior technology and equipment?

A: “The most powerful tool I have is the power of prayer. Don’t underestimate it. You hear people say when things go bad, Why did God do this to me? Sometimes God has nothing to do with it. Sometimes you turn your back on him and you’re on your own. Bad things can happen to good people. They lose their jobs, their homes, their car, and then their spirit. Prayer is always the answer. Don’t turn your back on the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray hard and often and he will listen, and do what he feels is right for you.”

Q: Any racing goals for 2011?

A: “Well we certainly would like to put The Salvation Army in the winners circle, but we are a very small team with limited funding compared to many of the other teams, so realistically, I’d like to be the oldest driver in Nascar’s upper-two levels to finish a race in the Top 10. I think the record is 59 years of age. I’d like to get a Top 10. We’ve come close the last couple of years, but it just didn’t fall our way. I have faith we can do it.”

Q: Morgan, you are very spiritual. Any favorite passages from The Bible?

A: “Well I always like the story of David and Goliath. The original underdog story. David had no chance, but young David took out a rock and set it in his sling and slung it. Striking the phillistine in the head, and he fell to the ground. I feel like David sometimes. But I’d say my favorite passage would be Hebrews 12:1….LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE GOD HAS SET BEFORE US.”

To follow Morgan Shepherd and The Salvation Army Race Team, visit www.racewithfaith.com, or go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Chefs for Hope

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A few months ago, they were homeless or barely getting by. Many of them had no background in cooking. But just last weekend they were working alongside several of Louisville’s top chefs, preparing and serving $250-a-plate dinners to a crowd of 100 diners at the ‘Chefs for Hope’ benefit.

They are the newest students of The Salvation Army Louisville’s Culinary Training Program, which provides homeless and low-income individuals with the skills they need to earn jobs in the food service industry. And while they may still be searching for permanent housing or a steady job, they’re now getting the experience and support they need to make it happen.

The ‘Chefs for Hope’ benefit is just one part of the students’ months-long intensive training, but it provides a unique and encouraging opportunity for them to work alongside local culinary stars. Louisville’s Courier-Journal ran a great article about the event, the proceeds from which will support the Culinary Training Program.

After reading about the six course meal and appetizers, no doubt you and I both wish we could have been at that dinner, but don’t worry! Next week, just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re going to feature some special recipes from the Culinary Training Program’s head chef Josh Arnold.

Be sure to check our blog Monday for some edible inspirations from The Salvation Army’s kitchen.

Salvation Army Youth in Super Bowl XLV Spot

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kids from The Salvation Army Cedar Crest Community Center joined Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware in a Super Bowl XLV TV spot! Ware recited part of the Declaration of…