World Track Stars Team Up with Army for New Zealand Earthquake Relief

Friday, February 25, 2011

In New Zealand, The Salvation Army continues earthquake relief efforts. Major aftershocks are still being felt, and members of the community are still “very distressed.” Our staff and volunteers are focused on providing them with food and psychological support.
Today, 56 psychosocial Salvation Army staff are at work, and a fresh team of about 50 others will take over Monday. Several Salvation Army buildings were significantly damaged in the quake, but thankfully our response teams are able to work from temporary locations.
An exciting international sporting and fundraising initiative is being planned for Saturday to raise funds for the Army’s earthquake response. Top international and Olympic athletes were to compete in Christchurch, but after the event was cancelled, the athletes decided to organize ‘Track Meet 4 Christchurch.’ World class athletes confirmed so far include: Nick Willis (Olympic silver medalist), Alan Webb (US mile record holder), Lee Emanuel (British representative and sub-four minute miler) and many more international and New Zealand-based track stars.
The meet is free to attend, but The Salvation Army will be on site to collect donations.
A long term response will be needed to help the community recover, and the Army’s aim is to support the local economy wherever possible in the use of donated funds. If you’d like to help support recovery efforts in New Zealand, click here to donate to their online campaign.
The Salvation Army New Zealand has been posting updates on their website every day since the earthquake. Visit them here for more info on how they’re helping.

Life in the Fast Lane: NASCAR Driver Makes Kids’ Dreams Come True

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We thought it was generous of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd to put a huge Salvation Army logo on the hood of his race car, but Shepherd didn’t stop there.

[Dijonae (left) and Kevante’ (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.]
Dijonae (left) and Kevante’ (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.

He made sure siblings Kevante’ (10) and Dijonae (12) got VIP treatment this weekend when he invited them to watch the race as his special guests and get the full experience of the track.

Kevante’ and Dijonae are involved in several Salvation Army youth programs and local to Daytona. When they learned about the opportunity to meet Shepherd, they jumped at the chance. These kids have always been NASCAR enthusiasts, but this is the first race they’ve ever attended.

[Kevante’s ready to take Shepherd’s #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.]
Kevante’s ready to take Shepherd’s #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.

“He’s wanted to be a NASCAR driver since he first learned about stock car racing”, said his Kevante’s grandmother Renese.

Maybe he hasn’t quite grown into that driver’s seat yet, but he looks like he belongs behind the wheel!

“I’ve seen every race, I know all the drivers and their stats, and I can’t wait to go under the tunnel to experience it all,” Kevante said.

[“The Salvation Army car” gets a check up under the hood alongside several others in the NASCAR garages.]
“The Salvation Army car” gets a check up under the hood alongside several other cars in the NASCAR garages.

And experience it they did! Besides getting behind the wheel of Morgan’s #89 Salvation Army car, the kids toured pit row and even met other NASCAR Champions and drivers.

[The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.]
The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.

Wow. There is no better way for fans to experience NASCAR! Thanks, Morgan, for giving these kids an experience they’ll remember the rest of their lives.

Shepherd loved providing this opportunity for Kevante’ and Dijonae. Though he may not have a major sponsor, making it difficult for him to compete, Shepherd knows millions of Americans are suffering from the slow economy. That’s why he and his team are doing the best they can to promote The Salvation Army and what we do to assist those in need.

[Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante’ look like NASCAR pros!]
Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante’ look like NASCAR pros!

We think what Shepherd is doing is so great that we plan to partner with him in more races! We’ll keep you in the loop, and you keep an eye out for our Red Shield zooming around more tracks soon.

It’s a Record: $142 Million in Giving!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank you, America! The Salvation Army raised $142 million in Christmas Red Kettles during the 2010 season, setting a record for the sixth straight year!

This is great news considering how much more need we’ve seen across the country, and these funds will go to support our many programs year round.

Wow. It was a busy Red Kettle season, to say the least. We used many of our traditional efforts, from the volunteer bell ringers you probably saw on every corner, to our annual Thanksgiving Day Kickoff at Cowboys Stadium. Plus, we had a few new ideas up our sleeves, like our Rock the Red Kettle Concert and a new iPhone app.

When it all comes down to it, though, we couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thank you for your generosity. And thanks to our many corporate partners for your continued support. We’re very grateful for all of your help with assisting those in need!

If you’d like to know more about our record Red Kettle Season, check out our official press release here.

Or if you’re more of a visual person, you may prefer this cool fact sheet:

Their Tweets Give the Homeless A Voice. What Can Yours Do?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As much as people like to bash social media, sites like Facebook and Twitter have played crucial roles during recent global events.

From serving as the one of the very few connections between earthquake-shaken Haiti and the outside world, to helping organize revolutionary protests in Egypt, social media is proving to the world stage that hey, maybe there’s more to this than just letting virtual friends know the scoop on our relationship status.

There’s a lot of good that can come from this stuff if we use it well.

A few New York interns appear to have already figured that out. As a part of their project “Unheard in New York,” these interns gave four NYC homeless men their own prepaid cell phones and Twitter accounts with the purpose of helping them tell their stories. Every day Danny, Derrick, Albert and Carlos tweet about what it’s like to live on the streets, the struggles they face, and how they came to be homeless. From once feeling like they didn’t have a voice, they now have thousands of people following, talking with, and learning from them on Twitter.

If these tweets can give a voice to the homeless, what can your tweets do? How can your Facebook status become more than just the status quo? We want to hear your ideas for using social media to do good.

I’d like to suggest one way you can get started – connect with The Salvation Army online. We’re on Facebook (The S alvation Army USA) and Twitter (@SalvationArmyUS). We share how we’re serving people in need every day and opportunities for you to be a part of it.