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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kids Gone Fishin’ at Kroc Center

Thursday, May 27, 2010

With nets in-hand, more than a dozen students from Grand Rapids, Michigan schools will assist in the transfer of approximately 4,250 live fish from a portable semi-trailer tank to a “Fishin’ Hole” located in the center of Grand Rapids’ soon-to-be-open Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center’s campus. The release will include 200 Bluegills, 50 Perch and 4,000 minnows. When open, the “Fishin’ Hole” will provide those young and young-at-heart an opportunity to try their luck at catching the “big one” right in the heart of the city.

What a great way to get people in the mood for summer and encourage kids to get excited about fishing, especially if they’ve never had an opportunity to try it before!

In addition to fishing, families and individuals will have plenty to keep themselves entertained and active when the Kroc Center opens in October. Covering more than 20 acres, the center will provide programming and opportunities in the areas of Arts and Music, Education, Health and Wellness, Recreation and Worship. For more information about the Kroc Center in Grand Rapids, visit www.grkroccenter.org.

Additional information about The Salvation Army’s many Kroc Centers can be found here or on our national website at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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NSAW Fact of the Day: The Salvation Army on the Big Screen

Friday, May 14, 2010

NATIONAL SALVATION ARMY WEEK FACT OF THE DAY

Did You Know…?

The Salvation Army has been featured or mentioned in literally hundreds of Hollywood movies over the years – from classics like The 39 Steps and On the Waterfront to contemporary hits like Seabiscuit and Titanic.

The Salvation Army has been featured or mentioned in literally hundreds of Hollywood movies over the years – from classics like The 39 Steps and On the Waterfront to contemporary hits like Seabiscuit and Titanic.

Here are some events going on around the country this weekend as we wrap up National Salvation Army Week. Make plans to join us if you’re in the area:

* Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Tomorrow The Salvation Army is hosting The MOST Amazing Race, a fundraising event benefitting area family homeless shelters. The first team to finish this scavenger-hunt-like race (based off of the CBS show “The Amazing Race”) wins $1,000!
* San Diego, CA: The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center will hold a Free Family Fun Day on Saturday, May 15. Grab your parents, bring the kids, and come join!

* Pueblo, CO: Tomorrow The Salvation Army is hosting an open house block party for the community with games, food, and lots of fun!
* Houston, TX: The Salvation Army is holding their Talent Showcase on Saturday, May 15. We can’t wait to see these performances.
* San Francisco, CA: The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center will do a homeless outreach walk on Saturday and distribute donuts. Later that day they’ll host a time of fellowship and music when residents of the center will serve coffee and pastries to event goers. In the southern part of the city, The Salvation Army will host an Arts and Crafts Bazaar to raise funds for building water tanks in Africa.
* Salt Lake City, UT: Since the state legislature is recessed during Salvation Army Week, The Salvation Army will be hosting a lunch at the Capitol for elected leaders on Wednesday, May 19.

In honor of National Salvation Army Week, everyday we are posting one interesting fact on our blog and an event on our website demonstrating how Salvation Army’s across the country are celebrating. Click here for more information on the history of National Salvation Army Week.

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NSAW Fact of the Day: Joan Kroc’s History-Making Charitable Gift

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NATIONAL SALVATION ARMY WEEK

Did You Know…?

In 1998, Mrs. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, donated $90 million to The Salvation Army to build a comprehensive community center in San Diego, California. Her wish was to create a center, supported in part by the community, where children and families would be exposed to different people, activities and arts that would otherwise be beyond their reach. Completed in 2001, the center sits on 12 acres and offers an ice arena, gymnasium, three pools, rock climbing walls, a performing arts theatre, an internet-based library, computer lab, and a school of visual and performing arts.

When Mrs. Kroc passed away in October 2003, she left $1.5 billion – much of her estate – to The Salvation Army, by far the largest charitable gift ever given to the Army, and the largest single gift given to any charity at one time, to help build more of these Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Centers across the United States where such amenities and opportunities are scarce.

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Part 2: Honor Society Reflects on Parntership with The Salvation Army

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We recently showed you Part 1 of an Honor Society interview where they sat down with The Salvation Army in Norfolk, VA. If you need to catch up and watch the video, check it out at our original post because now we have Part 2!

The band discusses their time with the kids at The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center in San Francisco, their experience on the Bed and Bread Truck in Detroit, and why they wanted to partner with us again.

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For more information about the hit band Honor Society and how they’re helping to “do the most good” through their partnership with The Salvation Army, visit their website at www.honorsocietymusic.com or follow them on Twitter @honorsociety.

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