Camping We Will Go

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The first official day of summer is only 1 week away, and most schools have either dismissed for the year or are getting ready to. For students, this means nearly 3 amazing months to play, explore, and just be a kid!

There’s nothing that greater epitomizes the summer experience as camp. Last year, more than 180,500 kids explored the outdoors, participated in sports, created arts & crafts, played music, learned about the Bible and more at our Salvation Army summer camps and day camps across the country.

Many camps are already in enrolling. You can register your child for a summer camp by contacting your local Salvation Army (search by zip code here) or a day camp by contacting a Kroc Center near you.

If you don’t have kids, you can help provide a camp scholarship to a child in need by donating to your local Salvation Army. In the article “Summer Camp Memories” published in the June 11 War Cry, contributor Laurie Miller fondly recounts The Salvation Army’s Camp Arnold at Timberlake in Eatonville, Washington, which she described as her “home away from home for seven summers” when she was growing up.

After explaining that many of her fellow campers came from broken homes and abusive family situations, Laurie writes:

“For years, I thought camp was just a free vacation I deserved as a child. Later, when I learned a fee was involved, I wondered how my mom could afford to send me each year. Not until I was an adult in my 20s did I realize that a woman from our church had sponsored us to go every year. I’m not sure she ever really knew how much going to Camp Arnold truly meant to me.”

As Laurie shows us, the experiences of a summer can impact the rest of a camper’s life. Whether you send your own child to camp or help to send someone else’s, consider how you can help The Salvation Army make a difference in a young person’s life this summer.

For more information about how The Salvation Army serves approximately 30 million Americans in need every year, visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Read More

Shed Your Shoes & Style Your Soles with TOMS

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Tuesday, more than 125 children from The Salvation Army Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex Command participated in the “Style Your Sole” party, hosted by TOMS Shoes and the Dallas Cowboys, inside Cowboys Stadium.

For the event, each child received a natural canvas pair of TOMS shoes to decorate any way they chose using paints, markers, glitter and other accessories. Once completed, each child was able to keep the shoes to wear and enjoy.

In addition to the shoes donated to the participating children in last night’s party, another pair was donated to a child in need, as part of TOMS’ one-for-one movement.

The evening’s festivities culminated in the children joining hundreds outside Cowboys Stadium to participate in the “Walk Without Shoes.” The children and the participants walked barefoot around the stadium to raise awareness of the millions of children who grow up without shoes, at risk of infection and disease.

Both events were part of TOMS 4th Annual One Day Without Shoes awareness campaign.

Thank you to TOMS Shoes, the Dallas Cowboys, and all the participants for making a difference for children in need in our country and across the world!

Read More

He’s Our New Favorite Elf

Friday, December 3, 2010

This man has got to be the cutest elf we’ve ever seen…

But the toys he makes year round don’t go towards Santa’s stash. They go to The Salvation Army.

The elf is 90 year-old Sidney Johnson of Fremont, Nebraska who uses his skills to create beautiful toys to benefit underprivileged children. He’s made hundreds over the last several years, and he could have probably made even more if his family didn’t impose a 1 toy/day limit to keep the elderly elf from wearing himself out!

A Nebraska NBC news station recently ran the story and video [embedded above], which are being picked up by affiliates around the country. It’s apparent that we at The Salvation Army aren’t the only ones who love the guy – just read the comments viewers posted here under the original news story, and you’ll get an idea of the fan base that has rallied around Mr. Johnson!

Mr. Johnson, The Salvation Army would like to echo those sentiments of appreciation. We are blessed by your kindness and sincerely grateful for your selfless efforts to serve underprivileged families. You’ve been a wonderful blessing to far many more people than you know!

Read More

A Paper Angel, A Country Star

Monday, November 8, 2010

Country music star Jimmy Wayne will be performing in Nashville tonight at the ‘A Gathering of Angels Benefit Concert’ to promote our Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program.

As an advocate of Angel Tree, Jimmy’s doing more than just promoting a good cause. He knows from personal experience the incredible hope it provides to those in need.

Jimmy survived a turbulent childhood and bounced around from foster home to foster home with his sister before ending up on the streets. During those difficult years they were also adopted angels, receiving Christmas presents from kind, anonymous donors through the Angel Tree program. The gifts were a source of cheer amidst an otherwise dark time.

The experience was so important to him that it inspired his 2004 hit song “Paper Angels,” referring to the angel shaped tags which represent the Christmas wishes of children and seniors up for “adoption.”

I wonder, did Jimmy ever imagine that one day he would be on the other side serving as a voice for a program from which he once received support? I don’t know, but the generosity of others certainly resulted in a life-changing impact on the course of his life (while a homeless teenager, an elderly couple adopted him for real and set him on the course for college and a music career).

By adopting an angel this holiday season through our Angel Giving Tree online program, you too can have a significant, positive effect on the life of a child or senior in need – we have more than 140,000 signed up this year. Just go to jcp.com/angel, or watch the video below to learn more.

Thanks for your support!

Read More

Anne’s House Provides Escape, Hope for the Young and Exploited

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This week The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division will open Anne’s House, one of the few residential homes in the country to offer support for sexually exploited young women.

It will provide a welcome escape for females between the ages of 12 and 21 from the abusive and enslaving world of prostitution.

Girls and women that young caught in prostitution? It’s something we tend to imagine only happens in less developed foreign countries – certainly not our own. But the Chicago Tribune estimates “as many as 16,000 young people are involved in the sex trade in Chicago.” And that’s just Chicago.

But at Anne’s House they will find opportunities to help turn their lives around. Here The Salvation Army will offer them a safe place, attention of a caring staff of caseworkers and counselors, and educational classes and training.

We’re excited for this new facility’s opening and the invaluable support it will provide to women in much need of help!

For more information about how The Salvation Army is battling sexual exploitation and human trafficking, visit our national website here.

Learn more about how The Salvation Army of Chicago is serving their local community by visiting their website at www.salarmychicago.org.

Read More

Angel Giving Tree is Online! Adopt Your Angel Today

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This week is the official launch of The Salvation Army and JCPenney’s annual Angel Giving Tree online Christmas gift drive at jcp.com/angel!

Now you can play Santa for children and seniors in need by adopting these “angels” and buying presents from their wish lists.

Christmas shopping for family and loved ones is a daunting holiday task for almost everyone, but it’s especially so for those who don’t have the financial means to buy gifts. Fortunately, Angel Giving Tree online provides them peace of mind when generous supporters like you lend a helping hand.

Just ask Yolanda Wheeler, a blind, single mother from Jackson, MI raising two children and her teenage sister. Her kids will have gifts this year thanks to Angel Giving Tree.

To help other families like Yolanda’s just go to jcp.com/angel to adopt someone today. You can even choose an angel in your area by searching by zip code or find one according to age and gender. You’ll also be able to find gift drop-off locations or an address to mail your presents for free thanks to UPS.

There are more than 100,000 kids and seniors across the country waiting to be adopted. With your help, you can make sure they have some very-much needed presents waiting for them under the tree when they wake up on Christmas morning.

Hurry! The deadline for adopting and shopping is December 10.

To read the our official press release, click here.

Read More

Indiana Salvation Army Receives Grant Support for Domestic Abuse Victims

Thursday, September 30, 2010

During July 2008-July 2009, 1,574 victims of domestic abuse were denied emergency shelter in Indiana due to lack of space, according to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. During that same time period 53 deaths in the state were caused by domestic abuse.

Donna*, an abuse victim and mother of three, feared for her life but found it hard to escape from her husband’s escalating violence because she didn’t know where to go.

The Salvation Army of Indiana is doing everything they can to make sure victims find safe shelter, and they’ve just received a $30,000 grant from The Indianapolis Foundation that will help in their efforts.

The funds will support their Emergency Bed Space program run by The Salvation Army’s Women’s and Children’s Shelter, which coordinates space availability at area shelters and makes sure every spot is filled. The grant will help cover everything from meals, linens, and mattresses to housing costs and more.

Through the Emergency Bed Space program, Donna* was able to find room at a shelter for her and her children where they stayed for several months before saving up enough money for a place of their own (read her testimony here).

Since 2003, hundreds of families and individuals with stories like Donna’s* have found shelter and new beginnings through The Salvation Army Indiana’s Emergency Bed Space program, and The Indianapolis Foundation’s generous grant will help ensure hundreds more continue to do so.

Read the full story about the grant award and The Emergency Bed Space program at The Salvation Army Indiana’s website http://salvationarmyindiana.org/.

*Name changed to protect confidentiality

Read More

Help a Child, Donate a Coat

Friday, September 17, 2010

You probably haven’t switched out the warm weather clothes in your closets yet to make room for fall and winter attire, but many local Salvation Army’s are trying to stay ahead of the game so that children in need aren’t left in the cold when the temperatures drop.

That’s why several Salvation Army ‘Coats for Kids’ collection drives are starting to pop up in communities across the country, and in the next few weeks some national football teams are teaming up with us for these events!

Check out the lineup:

Green Bay Packers

* Bring your gently used or new coats to the Packers/Bills game on Sunday, Sept. 19 between 8:30am and kick-off. Your donation will help The Salvation Army reach their goal of providing 11,000 coats for needy children in Wisconsin. If you can’t make it to the game, don’t stress – you can donate to Coats for Kids through Nov 7. Find more donation and volunteer info on the local Salvation Army’s website www.sagreenbay.org.

Indianapolis Colts

* Head to Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, Oct. 10 where The Salvation Army will be doing their big drive event as the Colts take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year generous donors helped the Army collect more than 10,000 coats, and we’d love to see even more this year! You can donate up until Saturday, Oct. 30. Visit www.salvationarmyindiana.org for more info and find partner drop off locations here .

Chicago Bears

* For the 22nd year The Chicago Bears are lending The Salvation Army their efforts to help kids in the Windy City. Donate your coats between now and Dec . 4 at local Salvation Army units, or click here for partners’ drop off locations. Visit www.salarmychicago.org/events for more info.

This is not an exhaustive list of Salvation Army ‘Coats for Kids’ drives, so keep an eye out in your community. Otherwise, you can always take gently used or new coats to your nearby Salvation Army Family Thrift Store. Thanks for your support!

Read More

Kids in Need Ready for School Thanks to Target’s Back-to-School Spree

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More than 12,000 students in need across the country did their school supplies shopping today as a part of Target and The Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Spree!

Each participating child, selected by The Salvation Army, was awarded an $80 Target GiftCard to purchase much-needed back-to-school supplies, and they were paired with a volunteer chaperone to help them pick out their new items. Target has awarded all 40 of The Salvation Army divisions nationwide a total of $960,000 worth of Target GiftCards, an incredible donation that without which this event would not be possible.

We here at The Salvation Army National Headquarters had the great pleasure of attending the Back-to-School Spree that took place at the Target in Falls Church, VA this morning. It was a GREAT time!

[gallery link="file" order="DESC"]

For more pictures from today’s Back-to-School Spree, visit The Salvation Army’s National Flickr page HERE.

The aisles of fresh notebooks, colorful markers, and shiny backpacks generated pure excitement in the faces of the kids as they perused the shelves with their Salvation Army volunteer chaperones. 30 local area children ranging from grade levels K-12 participated at this location. For many of them it was the first time they’ve ever bought brand new school supplies, but this year they’ll be able to start the upcoming academic year prepared and confident.

With a full shopping cart, 5th grader Quentin confirmed his readiness, especially for his favorite class math. He made sure to purchase a ruler, pencils, and plenty of erasers. “It was good. I feel grateful. I don’t have to go back and get more because I got all of it,” he told me.

7th grader Ty-anna’s grin gave away her excitement. Armed with new supplies Ty-anna said, “I won’t be behind at school. This has helped me a lot. It makes me really happy.”

A smiley 3rd grader named We’am recognized that while she had fun shopping, she knew it was also helping out her mom who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford new school supplies for We’am and her siblings.

Salvation Army Officer Captain Vance Murphy said, “It was neat watching the kids’ faces light up and listen to them talk about what they were going to buy. I don’t know who gets more out of this – the kids or volunteers.”

Major Steve Morris from The Salvation Army’s National Area Command believes the benefits are shared evenly. “I think every volunteer here has said they’ve made a new friend. It’s more than just, ‘let’s go do this job.’ There’s a relationship built. That’s the Army’s touch. It’s equally beneficial.”

His idea seemed to be proven by a particular Salvation Army volunteer and 8th grade shopper who both share the name Toni. As they checked out with the Target cashier, it was hard to tell who was more excited about the day’s shopping. 8th grader Toni said she couldn’t believe the generosity shown by Target and The Salvation Army, and especially her volunteer chaperone whom she had just met less than a few hours earlier. “I’m so happy! I’m so thankful!” she bubbled. Her chaperone added, “I’m in ecstasy with her joy. Her expression was worth every moment!” The two gave each other an emotional hug before heading outside with their bags.

Thanks to Target’s generous partnership, today’s Back-to-School Spree was a huge success. Thousands of needy kids across the country are now prepared and excited to start their school year, while volunteers left equally inspired. Thank you to everyone who participated today, especially Target, who has shown a strong commitment to supporting children and education.

For more pictures from today’s Back-to-School Spree, visit The Salvation Army’s Flickr page here.

P.S. We heard that at a Back-to-School Spree in Altoona, Pennsylvania some lucky kids got to shop with some local heroes! Players from the Altoona Curve, the area’s minor league baseball team, came out to volunteer as chaperones. See photos of pitcher Justin Wilson and pitcher Dustin Mollekin on our Flickr site here.

Read More

Anonymous Donation Gives Homeless Children a Special Summer Break

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teonnia, Shon, Gladys, Annette, Andrew, Diamond, Jynxy and about a dozen other children traveled from Charlotte, NC to our nation’s capitol this July for a summer vacation. Amid the crowds of Washington, DC tourists the group of 18 kids blended in among the masses of other visitors, probably looking like the many school groups that make annual summer treks to the city. However, the story behind the young travelers’ trips was certainly unique.

The kids are residents of The Salvation Army Center of Hope in Charlotte, NC, a homeless shelter for women and children that currently houses more than 300 people. Normally these kids would not have the opportunity to take a vacation as their parents strive just to find housing and provide food for their families, but the generosity of an anonymous donor made it possible for the children to escape from life’s challenges for a short while and just have fun being kids.

The children enjoyed simple pleasures, like staying in a hotel and eating out at restaurants, as well as experienced the unique history and character of Washington, DC. They toured the national monuments, viewed exhibits at some of DC’s most popular museums and even took a boat ride (a first for at least one child) down the Potomac.

To top off their adventure, the group even met with their U.S. Representatives for a personal and candid discussion!

The Charlotte Observer ran an interesting story about the trip with several quotes from the kids in an article called, “Away from the shelter to a Washington vacation,” which you can read by clicking here.

The contributions of the kind anonymous donor made it possible for The Salvation Army to provide these kids not only with shelter and food they receive at home in Charlotte, but also encouragement, inspiration, and a unique educational opportunity through this invaluable experience. In fact, all donations, regardless of size or amount, from generous Salvation Army supporters across the country help us serve those in need every day, and this story is just one of countless others in which lives have been affected for the better. For more information about contributing monetary support or gifts-in-kind to The Salvation Army, visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org and www.satruck.org.

You can also learn about the many services offered by The Salvation Army of Charlotte at their website www.salvationarmycharlotte.org/.

Read More