To Our Veterans, Thank You

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Veterans Day we want to express our deepest gratitude to all the men and women who have served our great nation – may God bless you for the sacrifices you have made in order to protect our freedoms.

While we believe it is important to support our veterans with our words of thanks and encouragement, we also strive to support them with our actions.

The Salvation Army has a long history of caring for our service members, going all the way back to the days of WWI with our famous doughnut lassies. Today we offer a range of veterans programs and services across the country that are unique to each local community they’re found in.

Today I want to specifically highlight one found in Ann Arbor, Michigan called The Salvation Army Veterans Haven of Hope House, or Hope House for short.

Since it opened in 2004, Hope House has helped more than 70 homeless veterans find permanent housing, get a job, or enroll in school.

Director Jennifer Brown describes her responsibility as helping veterans create and meet short and long term goals for themselves. Some requirements such as contributing to work around the house helps nurture productivity and confidence in the residents. Additional support, such as mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, and various groups are available to those who need them.

For those who honorably served, this program is just one of many ways The Salvation Army hopes to serve them.

Happy Veterans Day.

New National Leaders to be Installed

Thursday, November 11, 2010

As of November 1, The Salvation Army is under the new national leadership of Commissioners William and Nancy Roberts, and their official installment service is taking place Friday, November 12 in Chicago, IL at 8:30pm EST/7:30pm CST.

For anyone interested in watching the ceremony, it will be broadcast LIVE online at www.live.salvationarmymedia.org.

Here at National Headquarters we’ve already had the opportunity to welcome Commissioners Roberts with a special chapel and welcome lunch. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to meet them yet, we can tell you they’re an extremely friendly and personable couple that we’re excited to have join us!

As officers of The Salvation Army they’ve served all over the world – most recently in Kenya and before that London, England and South America, in addition to some cities in the United States. We’ve already heard a few fascinating anecdotes about their work within communities across the globe and they’ve assured us we’ll hear more.

Good…we always love a good story.

We’re confident that Commissioners Roberts will be excellent leaders, not just because of their broad perspective and experience, but also because of their evident love for people. If you’re available Friday evening we definitely recommend tuning in to their installation service.

You can also find the biographies of our fearless leaders here.

International Disaster Relief Update

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salvation Army in Indonesia Provides Help to Volcano Evacuees

Salvation Army teams in Indonesia continue to help those affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Java. At least 138 people are known to have been killed and more than 200,000 evacuated.

It’s been a dangerous and difficult time for our workers and those of other NGO’s. A team from the Salvation Army’s William Booth Hospital in the city of Semarang originally responded to the first eruption during the end of October and set up operations only 8 km from Mt. Merapi. But after another, more violent eruption on November 3, they and everyone else in the area had to be evacuated immediately with no time to recover tents, supplies, or resources.

Our team is now working at a safer distance (approx. 36 km front the volcano) at Tlogoadi Village Elementary School assisting 692 displaced people, including 140 children.

The circumstances are difficult in their makeshift shelter – there’s a lack of nutritious food, clean water for drinking and bathing, and not enough toilets (10 for 692 people). But The Salvation Army is providing as much support as possible with medical care and nutrient-rich food such as noodles, sardines, eggs, milk, and porridge. Local women from Tlogoadi are helping cook.

The Salvation Army Emergency team will continue working in the area until the volcano settles and people are allowed to return home.

Salvation Army Responds as Tomas Storms Across the Caribbean

The Salvation Army across the Caribbean is responding to damage caused by Tropical Storm Tomas. Some countries like Haiti experienced overall minimal damage. For others, it was a much different story.

In Barbados, Salvation Army Major Dewhurst Jonas described it as “the worst storm to hit…since Hurricane Janet in 1955.” On the north side of the island many homes and businesses suffered significant damage, along with some Salvation Army properties. Most homes were left without water or power, and those of some Salvationists were destroyed completely.

In response, The Salvation Army quickly provided those affected with hot meals, shelter and basic necessities, for which the Barbados government expressed their deep appreciation.

In St Lucia, where 14 lives were lost in the storm, the Army is providing relief assistance in cooperation with NEMO, the government’s National Emergency Measures Organization, to offer counseling and some daily feeding programs.

A local Salvation Army leader reported widespread damage across the island including destroyed homes, fallen trees, downed utility lines, flooding, and landslides.

In St Vincent The Salvation Army is offering assistance as needed, Jamaica appears to have faced little damage, and Haiti seems to have fared well where one report describes it as ‘business as usual’.

A Paper Angel, A Country Star

Monday, November 8, 2010

Country music star Jimmy Wayne will be performing in Nashville tonight at the ‘A Gathering of Angels Benefit Concert’ to promote our Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program.

As an advocate of Angel Tree, Jimmy’s doing more than just promoting a good cause. He knows from personal experience the incredible hope it provides to those in need.

Jimmy survived a turbulent childhood and bounced around from foster home to foster home with his sister before ending up on the streets. During those difficult years they were also adopted angels, receiving Christmas presents from kind, anonymous donors through the Angel Tree program. The gifts were a source of cheer amidst an otherwise dark time.

The experience was so important to him that it inspired his 2004 hit song “Paper Angels,” referring to the angel shaped tags which represent the Christmas wishes of children and seniors up for “adoption.”

I wonder, did Jimmy ever imagine that one day he would be on the other side serving as a voice for a program from which he once received support? I don’t know, but the generosity of others certainly resulted in a life-changing impact on the course of his life (while a homeless teenager, an elderly couple adopted him for real and set him on the course for college and a music career).

By adopting an angel this holiday season through our Angel Giving Tree online program, you too can have a significant, positive effect on the life of a child or senior in need – we have more than 140,000 signed up this year. Just go to jcp.com/angel, or watch the video below to learn more.

Thanks for your support!