‘Pepsi Refresh’ Competitors Form Partnership to Fight Homelessness

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You may be familiar with the Pepsi Refresh Project that we’ve mentioned recently on our social media sites, but if not, here’s a quick recap: The Pepsi Refresh Project awards up to $1.3 million every month to people, businesses, and non-profits for ideas that will positively impact communities. Grants are awarded according to ideas that earn the most online votes within the $5K, $25K, $50K, and $250K categories.

Several Salvation Army units are in the running this month with their own original, creative ideas of how to improve their local communities. Two of these units have proposed plans focused on serving the homeless population, and they need your votes for the plans to come to fruition.

In the $250K grant category, The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division would use the funds to provide an additional 1,000 nights of shelter for Detroit’s homeless, plus 155,254 more meals to needy seniors, families and individuals through food pantries and mobile feeding trucks. They already provide more than 5,000 meals to people every day! You can help them achieve their goal by voting for this idea once a day, every day until August 31 at http://www.refresheverything.com/salmich.

In the $50K category, The Salvation Army Knoxville would use the grant to “Refresh” their Women’s Transitional Housing Program dormitory. The facility has housed hundreds of women, an average of 150 per year, for thousands of days using the same used beds, mattresses, lockers and partitions obtained when the program began in 1997. Purchasing new housing items through this grant would provide the women greater safety, privacy, and comfort, increasing their potential for success in rebuilding their lives. You can support this great idea by voting once a day, every day until August 31 at http://www.refresheverything.com/knoxredshield2010.

While competition tends to almost require an “every man for himself” mentality, these Salvation Army units have actually partnered with other competitors of the Pepsi Refresh Project to promote one another’s projects among their supporter bases. Why would they do that? Because these diverse organizations from Connecticut to Washington state are pooling their efforts for the greater cause of fighting homelessness! Since forming the unlikely alliance, the organizations have moved up in the vote rankings, meaning they are all that much closer to their shared aspiration of better serving some of most vulnerable and needy members of our communities. To see the list of these organizations and read their proposals to help the homeless, click here: http://pep.si/a1pWmF.

Don’t forget, you can vote once a day, every day for each idea until August 31. Helping support The Salvation Army and these great ideas is as easy as a click of a mouse!

The NonProfit Times’ Top 50

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here’s some exciting news:

The Salvation Army’s National Commander (aka CEO) Commissioner Israel Gaither was featured in The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50. The report is an annual listing of the nonprofit sector’s most influential executives. Regarding The Salvation Army, the report reads:

“There’s a reason it has “army” in the name — roughly 3,600 officers, 112,500 soldiers, 422,500 members, 60,600 employees and 3.5 million volunteers serving 31 million people annually. Gaither leads a public service/policy behemoth that commands the attention of legislators and sector leaders.”

Congratulations Commissioner Gaither!

To view The NonProfit Times’ full report, click here: http://nptimes.com/09Aug/NPTtop5019.pdf.

You can learn more about how The Salvation Army is doing the most good in communities across the country by following us on Facebook (The Salvation Army USA), Twitter (@SalvationArmyUS), and Flickr.

The Salvation Army Readies to Aid Pakistan Flood Survivors

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Salvation Army in Pakistan is preparing to help people who have lost their homes, possessions and possibly even loved ones in the worst floods in 80 years. The raging waters caused by monsoons have devastated many areas, especially in the northwest. It is thought that more than 1,400 people lost their lives in flooding which left 25,000 more trapped and awaiting rescue. More than a million people are thought to be homeless.

News coverage with video can be found here at BBC.com: Pakistan floods: Rescuers Aim to meet Stranded Victims

A letter posted on The Salvation Army Pakistan’s website reads:

“The government of Pakistan is looking for help from the NGO’s to assist with relief efforts. Our people have been doing some initial assessments and will continue gathering information on the work we will be able to do. We will also coordinate with government officials to fit in with providing assistance where it is needed and not duplicating a lot of services.

The DC (Divisional Commander) in Islamabad and the Corps Officers (Salvation Army leaders/pastors) from Peshawar have identified at least 3,000 families in the areas of Peshawar, Charsada, Noshera, Jhanghira, Tar Nab, and Rasalpur. They are in dire need of food, cooking/eating utensils, and bedding materials.”

Photos courtesy of The Salvation Army Pakistan’s website

The Salvation Army Pakistan has expressed their gratitude for prayers and practical support as they ready to serve these communities. The Salvation Army began its work in Pakistan in Lahore 1883 with Captain Victoria Roberts and a few other officers. Our organization has been living and serving in the communities ever since.

Visit The Salvation Army Pakistan’s website HERE to learn more information or donate to their relief efforts.

Anonymous Donation Gives Homeless Children a Special Summer Break

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teonnia, Shon, Gladys, Annette, Andrew, Diamond, Jynxy and about a dozen other children traveled from Charlotte, NC to our nation’s capitol this July for a summer vacation. Amid the crowds of Washington, DC tourists the group of 18 kids blended in among the masses of other visitors, probably looking like the many school groups that make annual summer treks to the city. However, the story behind the young travelers’ trips was certainly unique.

The kids are residents of The Salvation Army Center of Hope in Charlotte, NC, a homeless shelter for women and children that currently houses more than 300 people. Normally these kids would not have the opportunity to take a vacation as their parents strive just to find housing and provide food for their families, but the generosity of an anonymous donor made it possible for the children to escape from life’s challenges for a short while and just have fun being kids.

The children enjoyed simple pleasures, like staying in a hotel and eating out at restaurants, as well as experienced the unique history and character of Washington, DC. They toured the national monuments, viewed exhibits at some of DC’s most popular museums and even took a boat ride (a first for at least one child) down the Potomac.

To top off their adventure, the group even met with their U.S. Representatives for a personal and candid discussion!

The Charlotte Observer ran an interesting story about the trip with several quotes from the kids in an article called, “Away from the shelter to a Washington vacation,” which you can read by clicking here.

The contributions of the kind anonymous donor made it possible for The Salvation Army to provide these kids not only with shelter and food they receive at home in Charlotte, but also encouragement, inspiration, and a unique educational opportunity through this invaluable experience. In fact, all donations, regardless of size or amount, from generous Salvation Army supporters across the country help us serve those in need every day, and this story is just one of countless others in which lives have been affected for the better. For more information about contributing monetary support or gifts-in-kind to The Salvation Army, visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org and www.satruck.org.

You can also learn about the many services offered by The Salvation Army of Charlotte at their website www.salvationarmycharlotte.org/.