Soap, Soup, and Salvation Army

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, a London minister, gave up the comfort of his pulpit and decided to take to the streets where his message and service would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute. His method was unheard of and controversial, even attracting persecution. For a time, he and his followers were dubbed, “Soap, Soup and Salvation Army.”

Today, The Salvation Army has dramatically grown since Booth’s time, but our work continues to be inspired by his example of boldly searching out and serving the most vulnerable among us.

A modern day version of out Booth’s street outreach can be seen at an event that took place this week in New Jersey. In one of the area’s most poverty stricken neighborhoods, the local Salvation Army brought out a food truck and distributed soup, coffee, and coats to anyone in need.

In a community with high rates of homelessness, Salvation Army officer Terrell Curry explained, “We want to go where no one goes.”

Read more about The Salvation Army’s outreach event here.

Dignity Matters

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our neighbor to the north, The Salvation Army Canada, has just launched a campaign called The Dignity Project that’s generating some buzz over the border. The initiative is designed to educate the public about the realities of poverty and underscore the point that everyone deserves fundamental human dignity.

In pursuing this project, The Salvation Army Canada felt it important to ask the public, “How do average Canadians feel about the poor living among them today?” And while respondents ranked poverty as the third most critical issue facing their country, their feedback revealed a lot of people still hold misperceptions about the poor and the challenges they face.

Though the report and findings are tailored to Canada, this is important for Americans to reflect on too. You may not encounter poverty in your everyday life, but as many as 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty today. So ask yourself, have you ever thought, consciously or subconsciously, the following about the poor?

* If poor people really want to work, they can always find a job.
* A good work ethic is all you need to escape poverty.
* I think that if we gave poor people more assistance, they would just take advantage of it and do nothing.
* Poor people usually have lower moral values.
* People are poor because they are lazy.

If so, you should take a look at the full report here.

More information about The Dignity Project, including a blog and a video series, is available at http://dignity.salvationarmy.ca/.

The Salvation Army’s faith motivates its mission to serve and treat everyone with dignity and respect. To learn more about the work we do serving more than 30 million people in need every year in the United States, visit us at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Running Bare Because They Care

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What lengths would you go to to raise awareness for the homeless? Would you get *nearly* naked?

Stripping down has become an annual tradition for University of Iowa students and community members in the charitable walk/run called the Nearly Naked Mile, but at least the PG event is for a good cause! Instead of paying an entrance fee, participants take off their extra clothing before the race to be donated to The Salvation Army.

The third annual Nearly Naked Mile is being held this Saturday with a goal of raising more than 500 pounds of clothing.

It will be a chilly jog, but the goose bumps are worth it! To register or check out pictures of last year’s costumed participants, click here.

Energy Company Joins in Fight to Empower Those in Need

Monday, February 28, 2011

The national average cost of gas is $3.189/ gallon. (Ouch.)
This is expected to increase in the near future. (Double ouch.)
There’s also talk of the cost of food, clothes, and services increasing as a result. (Enough already!)
Finances are tight enough, and now there’s news that they’re going to get even tighter. For the many low income Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet, how do they not get swallowed by financial burdens, especially if they’re already behind?
I was excited to hear about a partnership between Consumers Energy and The Salvation Army’s Western Michigan & Northern Indiana Division that will empower clients to take control of their finances, starting with their energy bills.
Consumers Energy has donated $1 million to start a pilot program with the Army to help low income clients who are behind on their utility accounts. With this funding the Army will hire several case managers to basically create an attack plan against their debt. The case managers will work with people in need by 1.) thoroughly reviewing their household budgets 2.) setting financial goals and 3.) equipping them to better manage their finances overall and in turn effectively maintain their utility accounts.
It’s a great start to helping people escape the cycle of recurring need. Just tackling one small area of debt goes a long way in empowering people to take control in other areas of their finances.
This Salvation Army Division already serves 20,000 clients a year who are unable to pay their utility balance, so we’re grateful for Consumer Energy’s partnership in seeing significant need and helping us do something about it.
To read more about the pilot program, click here.