2010 World Cup: The Salvation Army’s Work in South Africa

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Have you gotten caught up in the excitement of the 2010 World Cup? Are you soaking up each match as nations battle it out in the Group Stage, vying for a coveted spot to progress to the second round? Have you immersed yourself in World Cup trivia and player stats and even learned about South African culture (with your vuvuzela in hand)?

Whether you’re actively following the soccer games or just happen to catch headlines splashed across the news, almost everyone is at some degree aware of the global rivalry playing out across our TV screens.

At The Salvation Army, many of us have also enjoyed watching the games in our spare time – I was more than just a little happy to see the United States tie with England on Saturday! But The Salvation Army’s interest in the games extends beyond a mere competitive spirit.

The Salvation Army has been working in the communities of South Africa since 1883 to provide feeding programs, homes for babies and children with HIV/Aids, shelters for homeless people, community development projects, and much more.

But of more recent concern surrounding the 2010 World Cup is an increase in human trafficking. This, unfortunately, is many times an unintended consequence of major sporting events which draws a huge influx of tourists and an immense demand for sexual services. Additional factors specific to South Africa also contribute, including widespread poverty and relaxed visa requirements.

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The Salvation Army is passing out ‘Red Cards’ at the 2010 World Cup as a part of our anti-trafficking campaign.

Therefore, The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory has been working tirelessly for more than a year to ramp up their anti-trafficking campaign in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup. Its focus is twofold: Prevention and Awareness.

* Prevention: The Salvation Army is hosting Holiday Clubs and soccer clinics to keep children off the streets, providing them a safe place where they will be less vulnerable to fall prey to traffickers. Safe houses for women and children are also available.

* Awareness: The Salvation Army has spent the past year and a half educating communities on the threat of trafficking through conversation and teaching. We also launched a toll free number 08000-RESCU (73728), which is a hotline for both victims of trafficking as well as a platform for community members with ‘tips’ about trafficking in their neighborhood.

During the World Cup we are handing out ‘Red Cards’ warning against trafficking, as well as advertising our message on soccer balls, vuvuzelas, and water bottles.

The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory is also engaged in other outreach activities during the games, including street ministry, soccer clinics, Kids Clubs, and their usual community programs.

To learn more about how The Salvation Army is working to assist South Africans and make the 2010 World Cup safer for everyone, click HERE.

You can also visit The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory’s website at http://www.salvationarmy.org.za/.

The Salvation Army Responds to Deadly Floods in Western Arkansas

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Salvation Army is responding to the scene of deadly flashfloods that struck Western Arkansas last Thursday and Friday. Many campers at Albert Pike Recreational Campgrounds were caught off-guard by the storm, which has caused a reported 20 fatalities. Rescue operations continue.

The Salvation Army was called to the scene to provide food, water and emotional and spiritual support to first responders and survivors. Our incident command center has been established in Langley, Arkansas, and Salvation Army response teams have been assembled with crews from the Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Hot Springs areas, with more on standby.

To help support our relief efforts and assist individuals and families affected by the floods, you can donate by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org or calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Please designate your contributions to “Arkansas flood.”

Thank you for your prayers and support for these individuals and families who have suffered so greatly during what was meant to be a weekend of recreation.

Kids Score Big as Sports Role Models Team Up With Salvation Army

Friday, June 11, 2010

If you’ve ever played on a sports team or been involved in athletic activities, you understand what a positive role sports play in healthy physical, emotional, and social development. Plus, being active is fun!

Recreational activities are an important part of The Salvation Army’s mission in serving others and provide wonderful opportunities to support and build up youth and communities as a whole. With summer just around the corner, The Salvation Army and several professional sports role models have been busy making sure kids have a chance to get active and play! Here are just a few examples taking place right now across the country:

Tomorrow (June 12) in Durham, NC, NFL quarterback David Garrard will host his second annual Air It Out Football & Cheer Camp. Garrard’s foundation has enabled children from The Salvation Army to attend at no charge! In addition to Garrard, several NFL players and college cheerleaders will be personally facilitating the camp.

Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones

Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones and The Salvation Army each pledged $25,000 to the North Mabee Boys & Girls Club in Tulsa, OK during an MVP Weekend camp for local children, which included a “Sound Mind, Sound Body” football camp for high school players. Participating campers even got personal playing tips from Jones, as well as New Orleans Saints wide receiver and Super Bowl champion Robert Meachem.

The United Football League (UFL) Nighthawks in Omaha, NE donated $25,000 to the Salvation Army Kroc Center to establish two mentoring programs for local children. Through the Mini-Hawk program, Nighthawk players will have the opportunity to mentor children ages 12 and under. Through a second program geared at older kids, teenagers will have the opportunity to meet and interact with members of the Nighthawks team.

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Also, players from the Los Angeles Lakers and NBA Commissioner David Stern kicked off the new NBA Cares Learn & Play Center at The Salvation Army Los Angeles Red Shield Youth & Community Center. The Lakers played with and encouraged the kids at the opening event. The Center, newly furnished with books and computers, will provide a great place youth to develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Salvation Army Responding to Double Disaster in Guatemala

Thursday, June 10, 2010

SALVATION Army emergency response teams in Guatemala are providing assistance after the country was hit by two major disasters within 10 days.

A state of emergency was declared after the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano – about 15 miles south of the capital, Guatemala City. A television journalist was killed in the eruption and the international airport had to be closed. Some 1,600 people were evacuated from the slopes of the volcano and two to three inches of ash built up on streets in some southern parts of the capital.

Dots mark the path of Tropical Storm Agatha

While the country was struggling to deal with the aftermath of the eruption, Tropical Storm Agatha moved across central America, bringing devastation on a huge scale. Of the 150 people known to have been killed in the region, more than 120 were from Guatemala. These numbers may rise.

Some communities were cut off by floods and mudslides, and the ash clean-up operation was badly affected. At one point a Salvation Army team was stranded after a landslide blocked the roads to a community where it was providing assistance.

Almost 112,000 people were evacuated from their homes across Guatemala and around 30,000 had to seek temporary accommodation in emergency shelters.

The local authorities set up a campaign to provide support and The Salvation Army played its part, delivering coffee and warm meals. Salvation Army officers (church ministers) coordinated the response and other Salvationists worked as volunteers.

The first assistance provided by The Salvation Army was at San Vicente, in response to the volcanic eruption. The number of people seeking help increased because of the storm and support is being given at shelters in Tierra Nueva.