Salvation Army Today, March 21

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This week’s Salvation Army Today video – brought to you by The Salvation Army Southern Territory – covers prom dress shopping,  a Salvation Army rehabilitation program in South Africa, and more! Enjoy! Receive…

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Salvation Army Responds to Tropical Story Debby

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
courtesy of Chris Zuppa, AP

Tropical Storm Debby has dumped nearly 20 inches of rain on Florida’s panhandle in just two days. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predict the storm could bring…

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Salvation Army Readies for Hurricane Irene

Monday, August 22, 2011

As Hurricane Irene strikes the coast of Puerto Rico and gradually moves towards Florida and South Carolina, The Salvation Army stands ready to spring into action. The storm, currently producing 80 mph winds, is expected to hit the East Coast on Saturday.

Major damage in Puerto Rico was evidenced over the weekend resulting in half of the island experiencing no electricity and leaving many people without water. The significant possibility of other severe storms, tornados, and flooding has residents in all parts of Florida to the Carolinas keeping a close eye on the threatening storm.

The Salvation Army is prepared in the case that Hurricane Irene makes landfall. Specifically, the Florida Division of the Salvation Army is equipped with 40 mobile kitchens, shower trailers, field kitchens, and additional equipment strategically placed around the state.

We’d like to encourage you to prepare an emergency supply kit, make an evacuation plan, and stay on top of all storm warnings. Please check back for updates. You can also find updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Salvation Army Prepares For Looming Tropical Storm Emily

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Salvation Army locations in Florida are geared up with the necessary precautions should Tropical Storm Emily (link) make landfall on Florida’s Gulf coast.

Already equipped with 42 canteens, two field kitchens, a field communications unit, shower trailers, a command center and most importantly, 700 trained disaster volunteers, the Salvation Army of Florida continues to prepare for looming storm Emily and any other storm in the coming months of hurricane season.

Coincidentally, the Salvation Army of Tampa had previously scheduled emergency disaster services training and workshops for today and tomorrow. Florida residents can thus rest assured that they are in good hands with well-trained Salvation Army employees during times of disaster.

For more information, please visit the Salvation Army of Florida’s website at www.salvationarmyflorida.org or find them on Facebook. You can also read the full press release here.

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Inspired by a Volunteer’s Joyful Service

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Salvation Army in St. Petersburg, FL will be hosting their annual Volunteer Recognition event today. Among those they are honoring, volunteer Mark Tillery stands out.

Mark began his volunteer service at The Salvation Army’s center, called “The Café,” in January 2010 and comes in four mornings every week. Each morning he makes coffee, serves drinks and snacks, and cleans. He gets to know The Salvation Army’s patrons, providing opportunities to listen to, encourage and support them. Most importantly, he treats everyone with courtesy, dignity, and respect and works as a strong team member.
Mark’s inspiring attitude has left a lasting impression on those around him. Lt. Teddy Beshah, the Salvation Army officer who nominated Mark for the volunteer award, said,

“You know Mr. Mark more than anyone in the Café. I have found him to be a man of God and a wonderful person. Seeing him on his knees cleaning the restrooms and the joy he has while helping the poor has taught me in a deeper way. Most of all, he is doing all this with only one motive: to see the people be happy. I have no words to explain how great the work is he does for our guests at the Cafe. I pray and hope I will be as he is in my officership!”

We are very fortunate to have Mark serving with The Salvation Army! We hope today’s Volunteer Recognition event will show him just how much he means to us and those he serves.

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Life in the Fast Lane: NASCAR Driver Makes Kids’ Dreams Come True

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We thought it was generous of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd to put a huge Salvation Army logo on the hood of his race car, but Shepherd didn’t stop there.

[Dijonae (left) and Kevante' (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.]
Dijonae (left) and Kevante’ (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.

He made sure siblings Kevante’ (10) and Dijonae (12) got VIP treatment this weekend when he invited them to watch the race as his special guests and get the full experience of the track.

Kevante’ and Dijonae are involved in several Salvation Army youth programs and local to Daytona. When they learned about the opportunity to meet Shepherd, they jumped at the chance. These kids have always been NASCAR enthusiasts, but this is the first race they’ve ever attended.

[Kevante's ready to take Shepherd's #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.]
Kevante’s ready to take Shepherd’s #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.

“He’s wanted to be a NASCAR driver since he first learned about stock car racing”, said his Kevante’s grandmother Renese.

Maybe he hasn’t quite grown into that driver’s seat yet, but he looks like he belongs behind the wheel!

“I’ve seen every race, I know all the drivers and their stats, and I can’t wait to go under the tunnel to experience it all,” Kevante said.

["The Salvation Army car" gets a check up under the hood alongside several others in the NASCAR garages.]
“The Salvation Army car” gets a check up under the hood alongside several other cars in the NASCAR garages.

And experience it they did! Besides getting behind the wheel of Morgan’s #89 Salvation Army car, the kids toured pit row and even met other NASCAR Champions and drivers.

[The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.]
The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.

Wow. There is no better way for fans to experience NASCAR! Thanks, Morgan, for giving these kids an experience they’ll remember the rest of their lives.

Shepherd loved providing this opportunity for Kevante’ and Dijonae. Though he may not have a major sponsor, making it difficult for him to compete, Shepherd knows millions of Americans are suffering from the slow economy. That’s why he and his team are doing the best they can to promote The Salvation Army and what we do to assist those in need.

[Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante' look like NASCAR pros!]
Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante’ look like NASCAR pros!

We think what Shepherd is doing is so great that we plan to partner with him in more races! We’ll keep you in the loop, and you keep an eye out for our Red Shield zooming around more tracks soon.

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More than Just a Good Deal

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One of the most well-known Salvation Army programs is our Thrift & Family Stores. You’ve probably found a new outfit on a budget there. More than likely you’ve even donated your stuff after finally giving in to that urge to clean out your closets.

But our Family Stores are about much more than just getting good deals. They’ve helped rehabilitate and restore thousands of lives – probably even that of an employee you met last time you stopped in.

An NBC news station in Tampa Bay, FL aired a great behind-the-scenes story about what our Thrift & Family Stores are really about, with testimonies from those whose lives have been changed. Check it out:

To learn more about Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) supported by our Thrift & Family Stores, visit www.satruck.org.

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Meet Mike Jones, A Hometown Hero and Salvation Army Board Member

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remember Mike Jones, the hometown hero who saved the lives of several Florida school board members taken hostage in their own meeting? The dramatic video of Jones thwarting the gunman was all over the internet and TV.

Most people recognize Jones from the recent news coverage of the event, but the more you get to know him, the more you realize he wasn’t just a hero in the moment. He’s been helping change people’s lives for years.

Jones currently serves as Bay District Safety and Security Director, and he’s also served 35 years in law enforcement as a police officer and detective. On top of that, he’s a local Salvation Army Advisory Board member.

While he was still in law enforcement, Jones worked several cases which led him to The Salvation Army. He helped many female domestic violence victims and abused children find shelter and assistance at our facilities.

Though at that time he generally knew of The Salvation Army’s work, he wasn’t fully aware of the many programs and services we offer. But now that Jones is a local board member going on his 4th year of service, he gets to see The Salvation Army from the inside out. His main role is to provide guidance and vote on issues related to finances, procedural policy, or other significant proposals.

“When you’re not a board member, you may not know everything [The Salvation Army is] doing,” Jones says. “But when I got in there and learned what they’re doing, it strengthened my faith even more…I could go on and on about how our community benefits from their work.”

Mike Jones with several refurbished bikes for his Salvage Santa program.
While he gives back through his service at The Salvation Army, Jones also heads another significant initiative called Salvage Santa, a program focused on refurbishing toys to donate to children in need. He started it more than 27 years ago as a hobby when he saw many great toys going to waste. Now he’s known all over the area for the work he and his wife do fixing up bikes, dolls, and games, and community members regularly drop by with donations. It’s gained so much attention that Jones was interviewed on Oprah in 1995! Check it out here under the video section. Jones is now serving 800 – 1,000 kids a year through Salvage Santa.

But for all these admirable things that Jones is known for, being forced to face off in a deadly gunfight is not the way most people would prefer to become known as a hero. I asked him how such a life-changing situation has affected him, especially his outlook on this new year.

“All the credit and glory goes to the good Lord. I’ve been through a lot of training in 35 years of law enforcement, and all of that kicked in, but Somebody guided me,” he said, describing how he was supposed to be on vacation that day, the seeming-coincidences that led to him be at the building at the right time, and narrowly avoiding the gunman’s shots in the meeting room. “I’m fortunate to be here today so I give all the thanks to God and what he does.”

During our phone conversation, Jones praised many of his colleagues on The Salvation Army Board and described them as “pillars of the community. ” While he probably wouldn’t say it about himself, it seems clear that those words easily describe Jones as well – not for a single heroic act highlighted on the evening news, but for the heroism he’s displayed through decades of service to others. The Salvation Army is extremely grateful to have him as a part of our organization.

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For a Haircut and Inspiring Story, Lamont’s Your Guy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Last week I had the immense pleasure of speaking with Lamont, a 36 year old Salvation Army client residing in our men’s shelter in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The energy in Lamont’s voice is contagious. Though he’s fallen on hard times, his perspective on life is more hopeful than most people’s I know, and I couldn’t help but feel inspired after meeting him over the phone just minutes earlier.

After spending some years in prison, Lamont says he wanted to live a changed life when he got out, and he knew The Salvation Army could help him do it. Before serving time, he had volunteered everyday in one of our kitchens as a way to stay off the streets, so he knew firsthand about the help we offer.

Upon his release, Lamont went to The Salvation Army with a plan. He told the local staff about his goal of going to cosmetology school full time to earn his license and eventually find a job that would allow him to support himself. They gave him a bed at the men’s shelter, and now Lamont says it’s put him in a better position to cut off his negative relationships from his past and meet new people.

He’s also focusing on school 100% as a student at the American Institute of Beauty and using his barber skills to benefit the shelter’s many other residents.

“I’d go on the streets giving people free haircuts,” Lamont says. “Then my name started circulating that I was the guy to come to when you need a haircut. I’m always playing around, cutting, blow-drying with these guys. They say, “I got a job interview tomorrow. Can you help me?” So I shave ‘em, trim ‘em, do their nose hairs, whatever. If you make people feel better on the outside, they become more employable, so I do hair.”

As much as he helped his male bunkmates, Lamont wanted to do more for the women at The Salvation Army’s family shelter. Then one day, when he saw his school getting ready to toss out some old nail polish bottles, he asked to take two back to the family shelter. The school told him they’d contact The Salvation Army directly to make sure it was ok, and Lamont never expected what happened next.

Rather than giving the two bottles, the school donated loads of new nail polish to The Salvation Army, plus items for complete manicure and pedicure sets, hair products, and makeup for the women, as well as socks, body wash, toothpaste, and many other hygienic items for the men.

“It was beautiful! It was incomparable! I’m giving praises to God. I was just a vessel he used,” Lamont gushed remembering it. “It makes me feel good. I really accomplished something. I did something. I’m still smiling about it right now!”

Lamont’s dream is to have his own salon one day that is full of his personality. It’s a plan he says he came up with more than ten years ago and is still trying to execute to this day. For him, doing hair is a job in which his clients won’t hold his past against him as long he can make them look and feel good. He loves the way a simple haircut or style can transform a person’s attitude and make them shine.

Lamont has several months of hard work ahead before he gets his license. Classes began in August and he’s on schedule to graduate in May 2011. He’s out the door every morning before 6:30am to take a 2.5 hour bus ride, and he doesn’t get back to The Salvation Army shelter until after dinner time. But his joy and determination are undeniable.

“I want to utilize my own hands, brain, and the senses God gave me to get myself out of my situation. I’m gonna share the good things that God has put in my heart. I thank God He has given me the knowledge, ability, and power to plant the seeds. That’s all I am. A sower of good seeds.”

In regards to The Salvation Army, Lamont told me, “It’s a blessing to be a part of this organization. I think that someway, somehow, with the will of God, together we can always make a difference. I would love to try to be a part of this organization for the rest of my life.”

We’d like that too. Good luck, Lamont, with school, you career, and beyond. We’re rooting for you!

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Turning Leftovers into Abundance

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ryan Cox is a 14 year old from Jacksonville, FL who has found a unique way to support the needy in his community. The teenager has provided thousands of pounds of food for hungry, impoverished persons in Northeast Florida through his “gleaning efforts.”

Gleaning is an ancient, biblical practice that involves gathering leftover crops that would otherwise rot from fields that have already been formally harvested.

Ryan has gleaned and donated more than 3,000 lbs. of fresh produce to The Salvation Army and other non-profit agencies. He started at the age of 12 when he needed to complete several service hours for his church confirmation. During his first gleaning experience, he harvested potatoes from a farm in Hastings, Florida with other 7th grade boys. Despite being hot and dirty after many hours of hard work, they were thrilled to have harvested hundreds of pounds of potatoes!

Having previously served meals at a Salvation Army soup kitchen, Ryan knew first-hand that they could use more fresh produce, so he made it his personal mission to continue gleaning as much produce as possible.

In 2010 alone, he gleaned more than 2,000 pounds of potatoes, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and citrus which he and his parents delivered to The Salvation Army. The value of Ryan’s donated food is worth more than $4,200 and has provided more than 1,600 nutritious meals for homeless men, women and children. According to Ryan, this is only the beginning. He continues to set personal gleaning goals and well surpasses them.

[Produce]

Head Chef for the local Salvation Army, Anthony Mosely, cannot say enough about Ryan and his gleaning efforts.

“Ryan has literally saved us thousands of dollars in produce costs and had added variety and freshness to our meals. He is an enthusiastic kid with an abundance of energy and ambition. He is the kind of kid they should make a movie about. How many kids his age do you know that set personal goals of helping to feed homeless people – and then actually follow through on them? This kid is amazing!”

And amazing he is! Ryan will be entering high school in the fall and shows no sign of slowing down in his efforts to help others.

From all of us at The Salvation Army, thank you Ryan for your outstanding work and leadership! You are a true blessing and role model.

Information submitted by The Salvation Army Florida Division.

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