The Salvation Army Aids 300 Families in Pakistan Amidst Flood Aftermath

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Salvation Army in Pakistan continued its initial response to the floods that have are now thought to have affected 20 million people by distributing bedding and cooking utensil packs to 300 families in Charsada. An assessment team visited Charsada a week earlier and discovered that the floods had devastated the town, wrecking homes and businesses.

The distribution team included Lieut-Colonel Yousaf Ghulam (Chief Secretary of the Salvation Army’s Pakistan Territory) and Lieut-Colonel Rebecca Yousaf (Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries).

The first distribution, to 100 families, took place at Charsada Bible Church. Lieut-Colonel Ghulam spoke to community members, offering sympathy.

The Bishop of Peshawar arrived during the distribution and thanked The Salvation Army for its work. Members of the local media were also present and asked many questions about The Salvation Army.

The next distribution was in a hujra (an annex to a main building) in Charsada for two hundred Muslim families. There was a large crowd of people already gathered when the team arrived but the proceedings went smoothly. The chief secretary gave a short message for the community and the bishop offered words of comfort. Local Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Mr Javed Prince added a few words of sympathy for the community.

One of the recipients in Charsada was Noor Ali, a student. He told the Salvation Army team that his family fled their home when the waters began to rise. When they returned home the house was full of water.

He said: ‘We are determined to face this big challenge. We will do hard work to reconstruct our houses. At the moment we are having problems but we are brave and we can fight.’

Imran Azm, a policeman who works in Peshawar, collected supplies for his parents. He told team members that he is determined to provide for his family.

Both Noor and Imran expressed their gratitude for what they described as a ‘token of love’ given by The Salvation Army.

The next day, the team visited Academy Town Corps (Salvation Army church) to meet affected families. Assessment visits were also made to Nowshera, Pabi, Jahangia and Aza khail, all communities near the River Kabul.

In Aza khail the team saw people in desperate need. The community of around 15,000 people was near to the river and its houses were washed away. The people who remain explained that many bodies have yet to be found because they were swept away by the flood or buried under rubble.

The community members asked for tents to provide shelter. The Salvation Army is putting together funds so it can look to buy a large number of tents that will begin to address some of the people’s most urgent needs.

Celebrate National Thrift Shop Day

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today is National Thrift Store Day! What are you going to do to celebrate?

How about donating to or visiting a Salvation Army Family Thrift Store?

If you’ve been meaning to get rid of those extra clothes, books, and clutter taking up space in your house, today’s the perfect day to do it.

Or maybe you need to do some back to school shopping for your child’s clothes or dorm room essentials.

Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores provide a convenient way to recycle new or gently used items and our discounted prices are wallet-friendly, both great benefits for you and your family.

But your support of our Thrift Stores also significantly helps people in need!

Sales from our stores fund Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers where men and women can find treatment for alcohol and substance abuse, as well as learn life and employment skills that prepare them to re-enter society and the job market.

All great reasons to celebrate. Happy National Thrift Store Day!

Atlanta’s Overwhelming Need Spurs ‘Call to Action’

Monday, August 16, 2010

Last week in Atlanta was a desperate scene as a crowd of 30,000 people gathered for the chance to receive a public housing assistance application. The throng spent hours enduring sweltering temperatures even though the city’s available public aid falls far short of the exceeding need. The situation is representative of the overall dire economic struggle faced by the city’s sizeable low-income population.

Around the same time the event made national headlines, The Salvation Army of Atlanta posted a video of a homeless mother who has found shelter and resources through their center. The assistance will keep her family off the streets and empower her to more quickly get back on her feet. The mother’s account shines as a positive contrast to the pessimistic news stories, showing hope available through The Salvation Army for those who have fallen into economic crisis.

The city’s need, though, has resulted in a significant increase in demand for services from The Salvation Army Atlanta and has put a strain on their operational resources. Staff has logged countless hours of overtime. They are fielding some 40,000 calls each day from metro Atlanta residents seeking relief and their phone systems are overwhelmed.

So that The Salvation Army does not have to turn away one person in need, they have launched a “Call to Action” campaign to raise $300,000 in additional funds by September 30, 2010 to help meet the needs of hurting callers.

Supporters can donate by:

– Clicking Here for a Secure Online Donation

– Phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY

– Mail:

c/o Call To Action

The Salvation Army

P.O. Box 49247

Atlanta, GA 30359

For more information on how you can help, visit The Salvation Army Atlanta’s website at www.salvationarmyatlanta.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and their blog.

Thank you for your help and consideration!

The Giving Pledge

Friday, August 13, 2010

The headlines under the newspaper’s business section seem to leave us lacking in optimism as of late.

Participation in the nation’s food stamp program hit a record high of 40.8 million in May, continuing a pattern of record highs for 18 straight months.

U.S. unemployment for July remained unchanged at 9.5%.

With the job market still struggling, the U.S. Congress passed another unemployment benefits extension for Americans without work who are trying to support themselves and their families.

Increased need has resulted in unprecedented demand for social services at many non-profits and charities, including The Salvation Army.

Bill and Melinda Gates, top, and Warren Buffett, bottom, have encouraged billionaires to donate half or more of their fortunes to charity through an initiative called ‘The Giving Pledge.’

As mentioned in our National 2010 Annual Report, some local Salvation Army units have reported a demand for services more than 400% above normal. In Hickory, North Carolina, we’ve served 75,000 more people than this time last year. And one of our food pantries in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania serves up to 50 families per week, up from last year’s 15 families per week.

The good news is it seems that with increased need there’s also been a heightened call in general for philanthropic generosity.

Recently Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett announced an initiative called ‘The Giving Pledge,’ an effort to encourage American billionaires to give half of their wealth to charities or non-profits during their lifetime or after their death. It’s an interesting idea that they hope will “draw more people into philanthropy” and “continue for generations” to come. A list of pledge signers, including George Lucas, Ted Turner and T. Boone Pickens, is available at http://givingpledge.org.

What do you think of this idea? What causes would you like to see supported by these pledge signers?

It would be wonderful if this initiative did result in more resources reaching those most in need, but thankfully you don’t have to be a billionaire to make a difference.

In fact, I would argue that Salvation Army supporters are some of the most generous people out there. This year The Salvation Army’s Christmas Red Kettle donations soared to a record $139 million. That’s $9 million more than our 2008 record, another year in which the economy and logic suggested that donations would be down. And no, these donations did not come from billionaires. Most of it came in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from regular people with big hearts.

Though many Salvation Army offices were not (and are not) exempt from the strain of limited resources amidst escalating demand, The Salvation Army was able to provide help to nearly 30 million Americans last year thanks to our benevolent donors.

So while headlines may tempt us to feel dispirited, thankfully, as our supporters show us, there’s more to the story.