Striking Back at Spain’s Earthquakes

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Telegraph documents the destruction in Lorca, Spain following this week’s earthquake.

The Salvation Army Spain is striking back at the earthquake that hit the town of Lorca in Murcia, Spain on May 11. The 5.1-magnitude quake and 4.4-magnitude tremor killed 9 people and damaged 80% of the town’s buildings.

Salvation Army officers traveled to Lorca to assess the area and spoke with the Spanish military and the Red Cross who are coordinating the emergency response.

As is the case with many earthquakes, people are afraid to be indoors should another quake strike. Many are sleeping in tents put up by the Spanish military while others, including families with small children, are spending the night in the open. Some are even sleeping in their cars.

Lorca citizens are in need of food, hot drinks and blankets, but the main need is for shelter. The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters has provided $10,000 to help meet these needs.
If you’d like to support our relief work in southern Spain, you can click here or visit www.salvationarmyusa.org. Please designate your contribution for “Spain Earthquake” in the Specific Use field. Any and all support is greatly appreciated!

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Working Together, United in Purpose

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Salvation Army’s Lt. David Costellow of Chattanooga, TN reports the following good news of coordinated relief efforts in the tornado-devastated area:

“Times of disaster tend to bring out the best qualities in individuals with neighbors helping one another, but often in the midst of the crisis, there are many who get overlooked and even others who get flooded with care as a result of our goodwill. In a time when our resources may be limited, this can lead to suspicion on behalf of a donor who may be wondering if their donation is being used in the best possible way. However, when that donor sees agencies working together to meet the needs of their community, it brings about a feeling of peace and confidence that their money is doing the most good to meet the present need.

Last night, at The Salvation Army in Cleveland, TN, all the major relief agencies in Bradley County sat around the same table working on solutions to meet the needs of their community. Representatives from Men and Women of Action, Baptist Association, The Red Cross, The United Way, Lee University, Bradley High School, Living Word Fellowship, and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club were all represented. Their goal was to have a more efficient utilization of their services and volunteers. As a result, The Salvation Army has become the hub for all volunteers, the American Red Cross will be coordinating hot meals, and the Baptist Association will be coordinating the clean up and rebuilding efforts and The Salvation Army will be handing out non-perishable food. The local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has identified The Salvation Army and The Red Cross as the lead agencies in this effort. The spirit of volunteerism is high as these agencies unite together to help their community recover from this disaster.

Although there are hundreds of volunteers working together, the demand for assistance remains high here in Cleveland and around the Chattanooga area, and we need your help! First and foremost, we solicit your prayers for the tornado victims and relief workers. We also remind you that there are a variety of ways in which they can donate monetarily to the relief effort.”

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Salvation Army in Africa Considers Response to Ivory Coast Refugee Situation

Friday, April 15, 2011

As a result of the constitutional crisis in the Ivory Coast, many people are fleeing to neighboring Liberia and Ghana for safety. Since there is no Salvation Army presence in the Ivory Coast, The Salvation Army’s Ghana Territory and Liberia Command are both determining how to best respond.

Our personnel along the border have described the distressing condition of hundreds of escapees who have recently crossed into Ghana, saying, “They have little clothing, shelter or personal resource.”

The Salvation Army of Liberia sent a team of three officers to the border where more than 30,000 refugees had been registered by the United Nations High Council for Refugees (UNHCR). The team reported that conditions for the refugees were very poor and that there is a great need for food, water, bedding, medicine and clothes – particularly with the rainy season ahead.

Leaders from both countries have applied to Salvation Army International Headquarters for funding so they can begin work with the refugees.

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Photos: Japan Relief

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank you to everyone who has supported or is following our ongoing relief efforts in Japan. We’ve received more photos of the response work and have shared them below. Salvation Army International Headquarters also has them posted to their Flickr account here.

A Japanese Salvation Army emergency vehicle en route. Three Salvation Army emergency response teams were sent out from Tokyo to Sendai, Mito and towards the Fukushima area.

One of The Salvation Army Japan’s emergency canteen vehicles, preparing to serve up a fresh batch of hot noodles – very welcome in the cold temperatures.

The Salvation Army’s emergency canteen vehicles have been working hard, serving hot food and drinks to a thousand people at a time.

Poor weather did not deter the crowds, lining up patiently outside The Salvation Army’s corps (church) in Sendai.

The Salvation Army’s corps (church) in Sendai, near the epicentre of the earthquake, is also distributing essential supplies.

Relief supplies, comprising bottled water, biscuits, blankets, towels and diapers were prepared for distribution.

A Salvation Army kitchen in north-east Japan, with officers and members catering for some of the thousands who have been displaced by the earthquake and tsunami.

[Japan - SA Officer Distributing Food]
The Salvation Army’s officers and volunteers in Japan have been distributing packed lunches to evacuees and residents of earthquake-affected areas.

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40 Days of Sacrifice

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today is the first day of the Lenten season. If you observe this religious tradition, have you decided what you’ll sacrifice for this time leading up to Easter?

Most people I know stick to one thing to abstain from for these 40 days, like chocolate or playing video games. But Kathleen See in The Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory posted her own idea for Lent. For her, each day is a new opportunity to either give something up or do something good for others.

Below is her calendar for the first week of Lent. Maybe you can use this as a guide for your own plans. View Kathleen’s full list here.

March 9 Give up watching TV
March 10 Give up drinking your favorite hot drink
March 11 Learn a Bible verse
March 12 Give up the trip to the mall
March 13 Invite someone to Sunday dinner
March 14 Go to bed an hour earlier and use the time to pray
March 15 Cut your spending by $10 this week and put it in a box and decide what person in need will receive it at end of Lent season.

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Salvation Army Italy Readies to Shelter North African Refugees

Monday, March 7, 2011

JDIR, TUNISIA – FEBRUARY 23: People fleeing Libya carry their luggage to the Tunisian border post on February 23, 2011 in Jdir, Tunisia. As fighting continues in and around the Libyan capital of Tripoli, thousands of guest workers and Libyans are fleeing to Tunisia to escape the violence. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddhafi has vowed to fight to the end. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Refugees are fleeing Libya through Tunisia by the thousands as turmoil continues in the unstable North Africa, and The Salvation Army may soon have an opportunity to assist them.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini predicts an exodus of “Biblical proportions” if Gadhafi falls, and the European national is preparing for a potential surge of immigrants.

Italian authorities have asked The Salvation Army to arrange for its Atena Lucana Centre to be used as a temporary home for these refugees.

The Centre, about a 2 hour drive southeast of Rome, should be ready within the next few days and will be able to hold at least 50 people.

Read more here.

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World Track Stars Team Up with Army for New Zealand Earthquake Relief

Friday, February 25, 2011

In New Zealand, The Salvation Army continues earthquake relief efforts. Major aftershocks are still being felt, and members of the community are still “very distressed.” Our staff and volunteers are focused on providing them with food and psychological support.
Today, 56 psychosocial Salvation Army staff are at work, and a fresh team of about 50 others will take over Monday. Several Salvation Army buildings were significantly damaged in the quake, but thankfully our response teams are able to work from temporary locations.
An exciting international sporting and fundraising initiative is being planned for Saturday to raise funds for the Army’s earthquake response. Top international and Olympic athletes were to compete in Christchurch, but after the event was cancelled, the athletes decided to organize ‘Track Meet 4 Christchurch.’ World class athletes confirmed so far include: Nick Willis (Olympic silver medalist), Alan Webb (US mile record holder), Lee Emanuel (British representative and sub-four minute miler) and many more international and New Zealand-based track stars.
The meet is free to attend, but The Salvation Army will be on site to collect donations.
A long term response will be needed to help the community recover, and the Army’s aim is to support the local economy wherever possible in the use of donated funds. If you’d like to help support recovery efforts in New Zealand, click here to donate to their online campaign.
The Salvation Army New Zealand has been posting updates on their website every day since the earthquake. Visit them here for more info on how they’re helping.

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It’s a Record: $142 Million in Giving!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank you, America! The Salvation Army raised $142 million in Christmas Red Kettles during the 2010 season, setting a record for the sixth straight year!

This is great news considering how much more need we’ve seen across the country, and these funds will go to support our many programs year round.

Wow. It was a busy Red Kettle season, to say the least. We used many of our traditional efforts, from the volunteer bell ringers you probably saw on every corner, to our annual Thanksgiving Day Kickoff at Cowboys Stadium. Plus, we had a few new ideas up our sleeves, like our Rock the Red Kettle Concert and a new iPhone app.

When it all comes down to it, though, we couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thank you for your generosity. And thanks to our many corporate partners for your continued support. We’re very grateful for all of your help with assisting those in need!

If you’d like to know more about our record Red Kettle Season, check out our official press release here.

Or if you’re more of a visual person, you may prefer this cool fact sheet:

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Get To Know General-elect Commissioner Linda Bond

Monday, February 7, 2011

[General-elect Linda Bond]
Salvation Army General-elect Linda Bond

The following is an excerpt of an interview with The Salvation Army’s General-elect Commissioner Linda Bond. Commissioner Bond will serve as our organization’s world leader beginning in April of this year. To read the full interview, click here.

1. Please tell us about yourself and your background.

I was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, as the youngest of 13 children. My mother was British, migrating to Canada with her parents when she was 17-years-old. My Canadian father was a coal miner.

The coal mining town and political environment in which I was raised also affected the way I view life and I thank the Lord for this. The marginalized, the poor and the addicted were part of the community landscape, and my parents were committed to seeing things change for the hurting. This was consistent with what I later learned to be the Lord’s mission – and the Army’s.

2. Can you please describe your thoughts and feelings when you were nominated for and then elected as General of The Salvation Army?

When I was nominated I felt it was an affirmation from my peers. My overall feeling was that ‘this is of the Lord’. He had been speaking to my heart through Scripture, and although I had not intended to, I accepted nomination in obedience to the Lord. I felt that I had to wait to see what he wanted to do. When I was elected I was humbled, but I had a real sense that this was the Lord’s doing. To me it was a miracle – it was a work of grace.

3. How is the election of a Salvation Army General different from the election of a political leader?

Well, there is no lobbying, for one thing! The major difference is that it is bathed in prayer. Unlike a political election, only a certain group have a vote yet all the Salvationists are praying for the High Council members to be granted wisdom by the Spirit.

4. Please describe spiritual leadership in a Salvation Army context.

I have very deep convictions about spiritual leadership, and for many years I taught classes on spiritual authority. To me the first point of spiritual authority is that power belongs to God. The power that he delegates to us has to be a power of love, the power to die to self, the power to live for others, the power for people and not over people.

5. Please outline the Army’s mission and explain how it is relevant and valid around the world today.

Well, everybody seems to quote Retired General John Gowans and I, too, think he captured the mission of The Salvation Army in his phrase ‘Save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity’.

Salvationists seem to know instinctively that the Army was raised up by God to connect people to Jesus. They also know that we believe that people can be holy now, that they can be Christlike. It’s in our DNA to serve. So that is the mission of the Army and those are the guideposts for us.

How is it relevant? Well, the world needs Jesus – that’s pretty relevant, isn’t it? The ills of mankind are not going to be addressed by any other means, except through the Cross of Christ. When we talk about the relevance of holiness, this world needs to see that the people of God make holiness believable. It needs to see authentic, deep Christians who live out the life of Jesus and do not just talk about it.

There is suffering humanity – all we have to do is watch television on any given night or look around our communities and say ‘We need Christians with their sleeves rolled up’.

6. What are some of the strengths of the Army worldwide?

Our name, because we are known in most places and are found trustworthy. Trustworthiness is a huge part of what makes us effective. People trust us and we never want to lose that.

Another strength of the Army, I believe, is its mission, which is so clearly defined. You would be hard pressed to find a Salvationist who did not know the mission. There is something about being very clear about our purpose that makes The Salvation Army as effective as it is.

Our visibility is also a strength. People recognize our uniforms and logos.

We have a long history yet we are known in society as an organization that is able to change its methods to relate to each generation while holding true to its essential principles. We must continue to do this, to be adaptable and flexible but principled.

7. What will be the main challenges facing you as General?

It is a challenge to serve in a very complex world without losing sight of our mission. We must also serve in a secular world and never be ashamed of Jesus. Both will take courage, wisdom and grace.

8. How do you hope to use the latest technology in communicating with the worldwide Army? A question has been asked already: Are we going to have a blog?

I like using technology actually – I just love it! We need to explore every means to use technology to best advantage in order to fulfill our mission to the world.

As for a blog – again, for me it would be a matter of finding the time. But more importantly, I hope to visit and travel frequently, and I know from experience that in many parts of the Army world, it can be extremely difficult if not impossible to get on-line. But the Office of the General will require me to communicate by every means possible. I will do that. For many, they will expect to hear of these travels through a blog. Others will welcome regular electronic letters. But best of all is face-to-face contact and travelling will give lots of opportunity for this.

9. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have to thank The Salvation Army. I’ve had hundreds of messages from all over the world and I am a bit overwhelmed by it all. I want to thank people who offered Scripture – people keep sending me Scripture. People offer congratulations but they also promise prayer support. There is no greater gift that someone can give to me. I need prayer.

I would love to be strong and energetic and healthy and totally committed to what the Lord called me into this position for. I just want to do what he has called me to do.

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Super Bowl XLV Scores Big for Those in Need

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday is coming.

Yes, it’s a great event, but for more reasons than you think. There’s some awesome behind-the-game events going down related to The Salvation Army that we think will help you appreciate the championship even more.

Charlotte Jones Anderson, the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, found ways to increase revenue and cut costs for the team. Photo courtesy of Star-Telegram/Paul Moseley

First, meet the woman behind this year’s Super Bowl, Charlotte Jones Anderson. She serves as Executive Vice President of Brand Management for the Dallas Cowboys, and she led the effort to bring Super Bowl XLV to Cowboys Stadium. Not only does this impressive executive have a hand in nearly every effort related to the Cowboys, she’s the new National Advisory Board Chair of The Salvation Army. Learn more about this leading lady and her football prowess at the Star-Telegram.

Volunteer Leigh-Ann Aguirre of Arlington asks for help from eighth grader Kevin Wallican (right) of Irving during the NFL’s Super Kids-Super Sharing event at Salvation Army Community Center in Arlington, TX. (Photo: Kye R. Lee/Dallas News Staff Photographer)

This year’s Super Bowl has been dubbed the greenest championship on record. In addition to many other environment initiatives, all leftover, usable material from the game will be donated to non-profits. The Salvation Army will head the sorting and distribution of recovered material.

Plus, students from across North Texas participated in the Super Bowl event “Super Kids-Super Sharing” program at our Community Center in Arlington, TX. They collected a record of nearly 30,000 items such as used books, school supplies, and clothes for children in need.

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That same community center in Arlington will soon officially become an NFL Youth Education Town (YET), which serve as legacies in the host cities of each Super Bowl. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the NFL have each donated $1 million to build the facility, which will be the first of its kind to be owned and operated by The Salvation Army. Through the YET center we’ll serve homeless and at-risk youth in North Texas with after school programs, fitness classes, computer labs, and more. Read more about this incredible project at The Dallas Morning News.

Did you know all of that great work went on with the planning of the Super Bowl? Makes you realize that the game is about much more than just an entertaining afternoon of sports!

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