Congrats, Culinary Grads!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Congratulations to the newest graduates of The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program in Louisville, Kentucky! Chef Timothy Tucker’s program marked its 5th anniversary last week with a ceremony recognizing 10 more individuals who have successfully completed the intensive, hands-on courses. The students, all of whom are either homeless or living below the poverty line, began their classes about 10 weeks ago with little to no knowledge of the kitchen and now are equipped with the skills they need to be competitive candidates for employment in the food and hospitality industry.

And as an exciting Program first, alumni Jackson Hodges was awarded a two year scholarship valued around $40,000 to Sullivan University where has the opportunity to study either culinary arts or baking and pastries!

Chef Tucker’s program has been gaining attention around the community and across the country for its innovative way of fighting homelessness and poverty. This formally-trained chef left a lucrative career and joined The Salvation Army, where he’s invited the disadvantaged and destitute to join him in the kitchen. As they work over cutting boards and stove tops, there’s more than just great food being served. Somewhere along the way the students have cooked up hope, empowerment, and a permanent solution towards self-sufficiency.

Read more about The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program on our Salvation Army national blog here and at the Culinary Program’s websites www.cheftimothytucker.com and www.cheftimothytucker.blogspot.com. You can also show them your support by following them on Facebook!

Again, congratulations grads! We can’t wait to see the many opportunities that await you.

Pakistan Update: Survivors Wary of Returning to Damaged Homes, Salvation Army Continues to Prepare Full Response

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Salvation Army continues to respond to the dire situation in Pakistan as communities recover from the destructive floods. Our teams are assessing the damage and working with the government and locals to learn how we can be of greatest support.

A donkey cart plods through flooded streets.

Captain Washington Daniel, the Salvation Army’s District Officer for Islamabad, went to Peshawar to assess the situation and reported:

“ Most houses are damaged badly or have fallen down completely due to the flood water. River water came into many houses, rising to above six feet in some places. People are looking for shelter, going to relatives’ houses or to churches.

People are feeling hopeless. The Government and other non-government agencies (NGOs) have not properly visited them, helped them or prayed with them. They said that people from The Salvation Army are the first to visit and pray with them.

In some areas there is still standing water and people are afraid to go back to see their homes. Their houses and what they owned is mixed with mud. The buildings and houses are cracked and not suitable for living in.”

Salvation Army personnel pray with flood survivors.

The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander from Islamabad sent the following update regarding their aid efforts:

“We met with the bishop of Peshawar’s team and they welcomed us, very thankful for The Salvation Army visit and our cooperation. In this meeting we discussed how we can manage and to start to help these people who have lost so much because of the flood.

They gave us a list of people in different areas in order to avoid duplication in distribution of assistance. I marked utensils (pots, pans, dishes) quilts, pillows, foam mattresses and gas cylinder burners that The Salvation Army will attempt to provide. We have identified 3000 families in need of assistance from the list we were given.

Our team also met with MPA Javid Prince and he showed his full support in all matter from government. For purchasing all goods, I propose we buy from Peshawar to save the transportation expense, because road conditions from Lahore to these areas are not good and for security, safety and for storage where we want to distribute we have no place.”

The first batch of relief aid to go up to the affected areas – essential goods bought with the initial funding – is being put together and will be sent as soon as it is ready to go.

If you’d like to support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts in Pakistan:

* visit our secure online donation page at https://secure.salvationarmy.org/.
* or mail a check or money to:

The Salvation Army World Service Office
International Disaster Relief Fund
PO Box 630728
Baltimore, MD 21263-0728
*Please note that your donation is for Pakistan*

Kerrville, TX Kroc Center Nears Completion

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Kerrville, TX is well on its way to completion, and with the exciting progress we’ve seen in construction thus far, we can hardly wait until its official opening in less than 3 months! The Center is going to be an awesome addition to Texas’ beautiful Hill Country.

The Kroc Center already has its own website up with information about the Center’s history, facilities, church schedule, membership rates, photos, and a future blog. Check it out at http://kerrvillekroc.org/.

And it’s obvious The Salvation Army is excited for the Kroc Center to be a part of the Kerrville community – its Facebook page is blowing up every day with posts about fun events and community services available around the area. Stay up to date by finding ‘Kerrville Kroc Center’ on Facebook and add it to your Page Favorites!

Salvation Army Capt. Brett Meredith spoke with the San Antonio Express-News about what the Center will mean for Kerrville. Here’s a brief excerpt of reporter Zeke MacCormack’s article, “It ‘isn’t your grandmother’s Salvation Army’”:

“This isn’t your grandmother’s Salvation Army,” Meredith said of the 48,000-square-foot community center, which was underwritten by funding from the late Joan Kroc, whose husband, Ray, founded the McDonald’s franchise.

“It’s a holistic ministry of the body, mind and soul, and will allow entry on level ground for people of differing socioeconomic backgrounds,” he said Tuesday.

“We’re very, very fortunate to be chosen,” Kerr County Judge Pat Tinley said. “It provides an opportunity to fill some voids in services that were needed by the community.”

The center will include a Boys and Girls Club of America, a venue for the Hill Country Children’s Theater, after-school programs for up to 120 kids, and summer nutrition programs.

It will be able to accommodate 1,000 people per day in the summer, Meredith said, adding he hoped membership would exceed 5,000.”

Pretty cool, huh? And that’s only a very few of the many services and opportunities offered by The Salvation Army’s Kerrville Kroc Community Center. For more information about the Kerrville Kroc Center, visit their website at http://kerrvillekroc.org/.

Learn more about how the generous $1.5 billion donation of the late Mrs. Joan Kroc made the construction of this Salvation Army Kroc Community Center, as well as others like it around the country, possible by visiting The Salvation Army’s website here.

‘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!