“This Valentine’s Day, forget the wining and dining. Do something that matters.”
Those words are from Philanthropy Writing blogger Elaine Fawcett, and I think she’s got it right.
In her post “16 Charitable Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day, ” Elaine shares unique and practical ways to take the focus off of ourselves and really show others we care – and ‘others’ as in not just spouses and significant others. Have you ever thought of giving homemade Valentines to the sick, elderly or homeless (#5)? What about using the money you’d spend on dinner at a fancy restaurant and going to a Valentine’s themed charitable fundraiser instead (#2)? Read Philanthropy Writing’s Valentine’s post here for the complete list. (Plus, look for a shout out to The Salvation Army in #7!)
Meanwhile, The Salvation Army plans to share the love with local communities across the country this weekend and Monday – we’ve listed a few examples below. Look for similar events in your hometown, or reach out to your Salvation Army if you’d like to help find charitable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
* We Salute You: VA hospital Veterans will receive special handmade Valentines from The Salvation Army in Paris, TX. Several youths and women from the Ladies Home League have made more than 350 cards for the occasion. Additional corps, including some in TX and GA, will participate in the National Salute to Veterans by visiting their local VA Hospital.
* Dinner and A Show: Get ready for a special evening of entertainment in Astoria, NY. The Salvation Army will continue their Valentine tradition of hosting a dinner theater, complete with a surprise special performance by a professional singer. The event comes with entertainment, music, food, games, and more, all for only $15 that go to supporting Salvation Army services. Try to get all that from a fancy restaurant meal!
* 3 Days of Cookies: The Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary in Oil City, PA is hosting their annual Valentine’s Day Cookie Fundraiser. The ladies pour their love for others into baking over this 3 day event, and they’ve already made 260 dozen (3,120) cookies! The sale proceeds will help fund activities and programs. In 2010, $2,000 from their efforts purchased toys for children in need at Christmas, as well as $500 to purchase new toys for the Salvation Army’s nursery.
* Your Majesty: Students from our after school program in Steel Valley, PA will celebrate the day with a Valentine’s Day Ball, and a Valentine’s King and Queen will be crowned! Many other centers across the country have parties and events planned for kids and young adults, like our Kerrville Kroc’s Young Adult Valentine Dinner and a separate Youth Night packed with games and activities.
* YUM!: Loosen your belts for The Salvation Army Tulsa’s “Sweetheart Breakfast” of heart-shaped waffles and pancakes. The event will raise money for the United Way, and attendees will have the option of participating in a “Biggest Loser” style competition for the next 6 weeks. In Lubbock, TX the Army will also be hosting a special Valentine’s Dinner for their Men’s Club and Home League. Plus, they’re providing 800 Valentine candy bags to shelter residents and Meals on Wheels to deliver to their clients.
* Great Shopping: To show their Thrift Store shoppers, workers, and volunteers how much they’re loved, the Salvation Army in Wheeling, WV has planned a “Valentine Appreciation Lunch Special.” They’re setting up a table in front of the store with free pizza and soft drinks for the community to make the 14th an extra special day.
Are you a GleeK- a devoted fan of the hit TV show GLEE?
Apparently we’ve got some Salvation Army Kroc employees who are vying for the title of #1 GleeK.
Whether or not you’ve seen the show, you’ll get a kick out this homemade video from The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho:
You’re invited to celebrate with The Salvation Army of Philadelphia this Saturday, October 16 at the ribbon cutting of their new Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center! It’s the 9th center to open in the United States as a result of Mrs. Kroc’s generous gift in 2004, and it’s expected to double the Salvation Army’s social service impact in Philly, serving 750-1,000 people per day.
After the 1:30pm ribbon cutting, there will be a dedication ceremony, self-guided tours and free concert, along with the Center’s first worship service Sunday morning. They’re not wasting any time in opening their doors to the public, and after seeing the Kroc’s construction photos, we can’t WAIT to see the final product![gallery link="file" order="DESC"]
And yes, the Center will be awesome. The three-pool Aquatic Center, two-story state-of-the art fitness center, multi-sport athletic field and community garden don’t even begin to describe all the amenities and opportunities the Kroc will offer Philadelphians. Plus, it’s going to create more than 400 jobs and $22 million in economic impact annually. I can’t think of a reason not to be excited!
We hope you can make it Saturday, and if not, find more information (and there’s a lot more interesting information that we can’t fit into this blog), visit www.SalvationArmyKrocCenter.org.
You can also find ongoing updates at The Salvation Army’s Philadelphia Kroc Center page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyPhiladelphia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/SalArmyPhilly).
Chicago’s all abuzz these days with Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s jump into the mayoral race.
But that’s not all that’s going on in the Windy City this week. City residents, along with the hopeful candidate who’s equally known for being a “workout fanatic,” may be interested in some other news-worthy buzz from The Salvation Army:
This Thursday The Salvation Army is officially breaking ground on Chicago’s Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center. Plus, the Chicago White Sox have generously donated $1 million to the construction efforts!
The future facility will be a gym enthusiast’s dream, housing an indoor sports complex, basketball and tennis courts, an aquatic center, a state of the art fitness center, a climbing wall, basketball courts and more.
But if you’re not as much an exercise enthusiast as Rahm, don’t worry. The Kroc Center will offer a lot more than just opportunities for physical activity. It will also house a Family Life and Education center and an Academy of the Arts, where Chicagoans can have access to after-school programs, job training, educational classes, and workshops that have never before been so easily accessible. The Kroc will offer a little bit of everything for almost every interest represented by Chicagoans!
In an official press release White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf stated, “Our commitment to the development of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is part of a dedication to bettering the lives of all Chicagoans. The White Sox, as a professional sports organization, are accountable to all of our fans and the entire Chicago community. We commend the Salvation Army for their work and devotion to the growth of people of all ages, races and genders, and we hope White Sox Charities’ support will help the organization achieve its mission of building a community center to serve Chicagoans of all ages.”
If you can’t make it to Thursday’s groundbreaking, learn more about this awesome community initiative at the Kroc’s website www.kroccenterchicago.org or on the center’s Facebook page (KrocChicago).
A newly released Census Bureau report found that the number of Americans living in poverty has increased to 1 in 7. The number of those without health insurance is also reportedly on the rise. It’s a startling thought when you put into those terms just how many Americans are in need of help.
The Salvation Army is working hard to meet these needs that are becoming ever more widely present in our communities.
In Grand Rapids, MI many people will have the opportunity for new work soon. The Salvation Army’s Kroc Community Center is expected to open in October, and they’re seeking to fill 120 positions. The Kroc Center held a widely-attended job fair yesterday. Pretty soon the Center will not only be offering recreational and educational opportunities, but economic ones as well for the community.
Plus, this week in Savannah, GA The Salvation Army held its 6th annual ‘Stand Down for Homelessness’ event, basically a one-stop shop of resources for the homeless. People in need were able to speak face to face with more than 50 vendors gathered at the Salvation Army to discuss information about jobs, housing and social programs, as well as receive services like flu shots and teeth cleaning.
The Salvation Army of Louisville also held their own event called ‘Standdown: Operation Homeless Connect.’ In a similar fashion, area homeless met directly with agencies and offices about jobs, housing and healthcare. Attendees received personal attention from housing providers and case managers and many walked away with free eyeglasses, HIV screenings, hospital referrals and new ID cards.
These events were great ways to directly connect homeless citizens with the resources they need to help them get back on their feet.
If you or someone you know is in need, contact your local Salvation Army to see how we can help you today.
The Washington Post reports that Washington, DC sports teams and athletes are increasingly focusing on charitable giving.
Staff writer Susan Kinzie says, “For reasons idealistic, self-serving or practical, athletes and teams are putting a greater emphasis on donating money, volunteering and helping local communities — with more commitment to providing real impact rather than just photo ops.”
As a DC resident, it’s nice to hear that my teams are giving back. Between the baseball, hockey, basketball and football teams, DC athletes are helping revitalize local neighborhoods, investing in cancer prevention, fighting hunger, supporting children’s education programs and addressing a load of other issues. With the unique voice and wide supporter base that comes with the territory, athletes have a great platform to get the message out on deserving causes and make lasting, positive impacts on communities and individuals.
I’ll admit though, sometimes I’m skeptical when I hear about big names pushing a cause. I wonder, do they really care about or have a genuine commitment to this issue they’re attaching themselves to? For me, sincerity is important.
What’s your take on athletes being active in philanthropy? Do you have a favorite athlete who’s an outspoken advocate for a charity or a cause? Does a sports/charity partnership make you more likely to support the members involved?
Felix Jones spends time coaching kids at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Center in Tulsa, OK.
Felix Jones spends time coaching kids at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Center in Tulsa, OK.
Since becoming a Salvation Army employee, I’m happy to say my skepticism has tempered after seeing athletes and teams from around the country give and serve generously through our organization in ways that have invaluably inspired and assisted those in need. Their collaboration with us has ranged from extended partnerships to isolated volunteer efforts. Some athletes have never been involved with the Army before, while others have actually been clients in our programs.
Maybe you root for some of the teams and players who have worked with us:
* Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys – He tutors students in ACT prep at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Boys & Girls Club in Tulsa, OK and has served as a role model in other programs. He’s also pledged $25,000 to the North Mabee Center. Why? He played football at North Mabee as a kid and personally knows what a great impact it has on the local community.
* Robert Meacham, New Orleans Saints – Young aspiring football players received personal tips on playing the game from this Super Bowl Champion during a summer sports camp at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Center in Tulsa. Yep, Meacham also grew up playing ball at the center with Jones.
* Julius Erving, NBA Hall of Famer – The b-ball legend is an advocate for exercise and sportsmanship for youth in Atlanta, where he hit the basketball courts as a kid at The Salvation Army. One way he gives back is through his annual “Dr. J” Biddy Ball tournament hosted this year at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, with the help of other players including Cory Blackwell, Vincent Askew and Duane Causwell.
* Omaha Nighthawks (UFL) – These players not only helped establish two mentoring programs through a $25,000 donation to the Omaha Salvation Army Kroc Center, the Nighthawks also serve as mentors themselves! And they’re holding their training camp at the Kroc Center where kids and the community will have the opportunity to see their role models in action.
* Indianapolis Colts – From hosting Christmas toy drives to a $25,000 donation equally shared by The Salvation Army and 4 other non-profits, the Colts are community-focused. On top of that, their Senior VP Tom Zupancic just joined our Advisory Board!
* Philadelphia Eagles – When disaster struck Haiti, the team wanted to help. Eagles guard and Haiti native Max Jean-Gilles, Eagles linebacker Akeem Jordan and Eagles employees volunteered to help The Salvation Army and Numana pack nutritious meals for earthquake survivors.
* Dallas Cowboys – For 13, going on 14, years the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game halftime show marks the official launch of our Red Kettle Christmas Campaign. The annual campaign has raised more than $1 billion since the partnership began in 1997 and has helped the Army to serve 30 million people each year nationwide. Plus, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene, opened the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Center for Children – a Salvation Army child care center for low-income families in Irving, TX. Mr. Jones is now an Emeritus member of The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board and his daughter and wife are active board members.
As we approach the 5th year anniversary of Katrina, the nation is reflecting this week on tragedy that befell the Gulf Coast so many years ago and how the area has pressed on since. As an integral part of the community, The Salvation Army was there before the storm, and we were there after working to provide support and help rebuild.
The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Division posted an album on their Facebook page that looks back at their efforts to help those in need during the immediate aftermath. From serving food to providing medical support, The Salvation Army was a shining light during a very dark time.
But as we think back on the past five years, we also continue to look forward.
As a part of continuing recovery efforts, The Salvation Army is investing in projects, communities and individual lives in order to help the area become even stronger than before.
“When the Winds Died Down” gives a personal look at how members of the Gulf Coast community found support and hope from The Salvation Army. We’ll continue to post a new video each day this week that delves further into each individual’s personal story and how The Salvation Army helped them rebuild.
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.
We’ve waited all year and it’s finally here – the first day of summer! The season is a veritable celebration of life’s simplest pleasures, such as shedding your shoes for a barefoot jaunt in the grass, lingering on the porch to enjoy a beautiful sunset, and savoring the smell of charcoal as the breeze carries with it the aromas of outdoor barbecues.
And of course, it can’t be summer without a cold scoop of ice cream! Thankfully, Denali Flavors, creators of Moose Tracks Ice Cream, has this covered.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Denali Flavors will give out 10,000 free scoops of Moose Tracks ice cream today in an event that not only celebrates the inauguration of summer, but also supports The Salvation Army. For every scoop of ice cream eaten, Denali Flavors will donate $1 to The Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Grand Rapids that is scheduled to open later this year. The money will help support the many programs that will be offered to local youth in the areas of education, fine arts, sports, health, and spiritual development. The multi-use facility will contain a gymnasium and performing arts, education, aquatic, fitness and worship centers.
You can read more information about the progress of The Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Grand Rapids by visiting their website HERE.
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.
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.