Happy National Salvation Army Week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

["allowFullScreen":"true","allowscriptaccess":"always","src":"http://www.youtube.com/v/bSJfv5QC1so?fs=1&hl=en_US","allowfullscreen":"true"]

Today’s no ordinary Monday – it’s the first day of our 58th annual National Salvation Army Week! Every year we use this week to say ‘thank you’ to our volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries who have enabled us to serve in the United States for more than 130 years!

Typically observed in the second week of May, National Salvation Army Week was first declared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. In the proclamation, Eisenhower noted: “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood . . . Their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans, giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”

Everyday this week we’ll post on our national website a Salvation Army “Did You Know video,” and on our blog we’ll list Salvation Army Week events going on around the country. We hope you’ll celebrate this long standing tradition with us and learn something new in the process. Check our blog, website, and social media sites each day for new fun facts!

Read More

All Dressed Up With Somewhere To Go

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trust us, you won’t wear that again! Donate it to a good cause. Photo: 27 Dresses

I’m not as bad of a dress hoarder as Katherine Heigl in “27 Dresses,” but for awhile I did have several bridesmaid and formal gowns filling the dark recesses of my closet. Those dresses and I told ourselves it was just a matter of time before we went out, together again, to that next big party.

But we both knew it wasn’t really going to happen. Then there finally came the day when we (mutually) decided it was best to move on, and our last hurrah took place at The Salvation Army Thrift Store donation center. It was good closure to know that they would make some deserving young women very happy for just the right occasion.

In truth, most women probably have a handful of formal dresses collecting dust in their closets. The Ashland Salvation Army Kroc Center in Ohio is hosting an event that could provide that needed push to purge.

As a part of “The Princess Closet,” the Kroc is collecting gently used prom, homecoming, and bridesmaid gowns to make sure every young woman can be outfitted for prom night. Through generous public donations the event will help girls who cannot afford a new prom dress find something equally beautiful. Plus, the girls will get expert advice on hair styles and makeup.

Is there a better fate for your old dresses? I can’t think of any.

If you don’t live in the Ashland, OH area, just take your dresses to a nearby Salvation Army donation center. Plenty of young women will be searching our stores for that perfect prom dress. Yours may be just the one they’re looking for.

Read More

A Community Investment

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Any time a new Kroc Corps Community Center opens somewhere in the country, we get excited just thinking about all the great programs and services that the local area will soon experience. Whether it’s fitness classes, job training courses, or after school programs, it’s overwhelming just to think about all the opportunities available. We believe the late Mrs. Joan Kroc would be very proud to see how her vision and generous endowment has developed from one Kroc Center in San Diego, CA to a growing network of Kroc Centers across the country, each deeply invested in their local communities.

This week I came across a story from The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s blog about the Kroc Center under construction in Chicago. Though it’s not slated to open until 2012, the Kroc is already investing in the community, as well as allowing the community to invest in the Center.

Eight local residents have already completed a construction training program sponsored by the Kroc’s general contractor, and their first job very well may be helping build the Kroc Center itself! It’s a unique opportunity for these individuals to become invested in the Kroc on a whole different level.

According to Chicago’s blog, the Kroc Center will create 220 construction jobs for locals during its two-year construction phase and another 200+ permanent jobs once it’s open. Read more about how the Kroc is benefiting the Chicago area even before it’s open, here at The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s blog.

Read More

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

“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.

Read More

Calling All GleeKs

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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:

Read More

Groundbreaking News in Chicago!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

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).

Read More

Helping Things Look Up when the Economy’s Down

Friday, September 17, 2010

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.

Read More

Athletes Emphasize Charitable Giving

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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.

Read More

When the Winds Died Down

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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.

Read More

Celebrate Summer with 10,000 Scoops of Ice Cream!

Monday, June 21, 2010

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.

Read More