Cultivating a Future

Monday, September 26, 2011

Congrats to the newest graduates of The Chattanooga Salvation Army’s Culinary School! Most graduates have planned for years for such a milestone. For the record 614 grads that received their diplomas last week, this was a rather unexpected achievement.

Just 15 weeks earlier, students like Chef Augusto Rivera were out of life options. A sordid past of drugs, alcohol and homelessness had him questioning where he would live or to whom he would turn. A time-to-time recipient of Salvation Army meals, his decision one day to instead serve the food sparked a desire within him to cook. When The Salvation Army’s Culinary School Program became available, he made a decision to completely turn his life around.

Thanks to the training he received through The Salvation Army Culinary Program, Augusto’s newly-honed skills landed him a job as Assistant to Class Instructor Chef Terry Epps.

Augusto is just one example of many newly-trained chefs who, amid unforgettable pasts of unfortunate events or poor life decisions, desire to end their homelessness, addictions and sadness.

Chef Terry is proud of his class- especially since all 614 have been hired since graduating!

Congrats, Grads!

Check out the full news story here.

For more information on The Salvation Army’s Programs, Click Here.

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Country Crooner Josh Kelley Supports a Hunger-Free Summer with a Musical Boost

Friday, August 5, 2011

While on tour for his newly released album, Georgia Clay, country artist Josh Kelley visited the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Omaha, NE on Monday. Following a special musical performance, the children enjoyed a morning full of sports, crafts, and lunch with the acclaimed musician.

His stop at the Kroc Center is one of several visits to food banks and summer food program sites across the country- a joint effort with the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America. The partnership is an effort to raise awareness about the issue of child hunger in the United States.

When school lets out for the summer and free and reduced-price school lunch programs become unavailable, millions of children in the United States are without food. The Hunger-Free Summer Program was started to ensure children have enough to eat during the summer by expanding summer meal programs to more children in more places. Their goal this summer is to serve an additional one million meals and feed 10,000 more children through unique and innovative community-based programs.

Visit www.HungerFreeSummerTour.org to learn more about the program and the 23 food banks that received Hunger-Free Summer grants.
For more information on the Salvation Army Kroc Centers please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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It’s Always Sunny Here Thanks to Walmart Volunteers

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Salvation Army Community Center in West Philadelphia is getting a much needed makeover, thanks to an all hands on deck volunteer effort by Walmart.

The project is part of the Walmart Foundation’s 5-year, $2 billion commitment to fight hunger in the U.S. with food donations, $250 million in grants at the national and local levels, and collaboration with government and non-profit organizations to reach more families in need.

300 Philadelphia-area Walmart volunteers are working this week to complete the renovation, which includes cleaning, painting, installation of new fixtures, artwork and shelving, and food and clothing donations. The volunteers are specifically focusing on updating the community center’s public spaces and food service/emergency response areas.

The Salvation Army is incredibly grateful for this support that will benefit individuals and families in need!

Visit The Salvation Army Philadelphia’s Facebook page (Salvation Army Philadelphia) and Twitter feed (@SalArmyPhilly) for project updates, and find more photos updated daily at Walmart Philadelphia’s page.

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Walmart Takes Leading Role in Fight Against Hunger

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Walmart Takes Leading Role in Fight Against Hunger
Walmart has been a great partner to The Salvation Army in addressing the needs of our local communities, especially in the fight against hunger. Earlier this year they donated $1 million for hunger relief to our organization. These funds were a significant help to our food service programs, which have seen a major growth in demand while many of their shelves were running bare.
We applaud Walmart’s increased effort to support hunger relief, as they just announced they donated $799 million to the cause during their most recent fiscal year. Of this total, $732 million in cash and in-kind gifts went to programs within the United States.
According to their press release, Walmart has donated 256 million pounds of food to local food banks in the last year – the equivalent to 197 million meals! They have also given $62 million in grants to U.S. hunger nonprofits.
We hope you will help us express our sincere gratitude to Walmart for being a leader in the fight against hunger. The Salvation Army and organizations like ours are able to more effectively serve those in need thanks to the assistance of caring community partners like Walmart.
To read Walmart’s press release, visit http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/ or click the direct link here. http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10572.aspx

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Things Get Dirty at a Salvation Army Thrift Store

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dirt? It’s not an item you’d expect to be for sale at a Salvation Army Thrift store.

But in Billings, Montana, that’s just what you’re going to find, and The Salvation Army promises it will be “top-of-line” quality.

To be more specific, workers are starting an organic Bokashi composting business and selling some of it to local home gardeners. The rest will go to community and school gardens the Army is helping establish.

The entrepreneurial idea is just in time for the approach of spring!

Plus, The Salvation Army composting business will support nine formerly homeless men who are working on the project. Salvation Army Major Kevin Jackson says their entrepreneurial skills have really shined since the start of the operation. In addition to expanding their business skills, the men are taking educational courses, adding up to great experience and knowledge that will make them competitive in the job market.

Get all the dirty details about The Salvation Army’s compost initiative here at the Billings Gazette.

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From Our Kitchen To Yours This Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 14, 2011

Maybe you’re cooking dinner for a special someone this Valentine’s Day, or maybe you’re celebrating with some close friends. Whatever your situation, we’ve got a tasty meal idea for you from Salvation Army Chef Josh Arnold who runs our Culinary Training Program in Louisville, KY.

He’s shared a Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo and Chocolate Covered Strawberries recipes that will help you keep things simple but sweet this Feb. 14th.

Once you’re done creating your own culinary masterpieces, read here how Chef Josh is using his kitchen to help the homeless and low-income individuals turn their lives around.

Bon appétit!

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SHRIMP FETTUCINI ALFREDO

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettuccini pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt to taste



Directions

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

2. In a large skillet, sauté shrimp and garlic in the butter for about one minute. Pour in half and half; stir. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese in one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. After all Parmesan is added, mix in parsley and salt. Stir frequently making sure it does not boil. Sauce will take a while to thicken.

3. When sauce has thickened, combine with cooked pasta noodles; serve hot.

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CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients

  • 1 12oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12 oz. package white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, brandy, coffee or your favorite liqueur
  • Approx. 50 strawberries
  • *Chopped Nuts optional*



Directions

1. Rinse strawberries and dry completely

2. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Mix in half and half and vanilla. Remove from heat.

3. Push a toothpick into the stem end of the strawberries. Dip strawberries into the melted chocolate. Turn strawberry upside down and push the toothpick into a styrofoam block, or set on very lightly oiled piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, so the chocolate will dry evenly. Allow to set.

4. Melt white chocolate and drizzle over the dipped strawberries.

*Optional – Roll freshly dipped strawberry (while chocolate is still melted) in your favorite chopped nuts.*

5. Allow to set until ready to serve.

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Chefs for Hope

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A few months ago, they were homeless or barely getting by. Many of them had no background in cooking. But just last weekend they were working alongside several of Louisville’s top chefs, preparing and serving $250-a-plate dinners to a crowd of 100 diners at the ‘Chefs for Hope’ benefit.

They are the newest students of The Salvation Army Louisville’s Culinary Training Program, which provides homeless and low-income individuals with the skills they need to earn jobs in the food service industry. And while they may still be searching for permanent housing or a steady job, they’re now getting the experience and support they need to make it happen.

The ‘Chefs for Hope’ benefit is just one part of the students’ months-long intensive training, but it provides a unique and encouraging opportunity for them to work alongside local culinary stars. Louisville’s Courier-Journal ran a great article about the event, the proceeds from which will support the Culinary Training Program.

After reading about the six course meal and appetizers, no doubt you and I both wish we could have been at that dinner, but don’t worry! Next week, just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re going to feature some special recipes from the Culinary Training Program’s head chef Josh Arnold.

Be sure to check our blog Monday for some edible inspirations from The Salvation Army’s kitchen.

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Feeding the Need 2011 – New Food Survey Report

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Experts say the US’ economic recession ended in June 2009, but if you ask the general population, many will probably tell you they’re skeptical and are still feeling the pain.

The Salvation Army has just released a new report today that also seems to show the recession is having a lasting impact on Americans.

We talked to more than 30 Salvation Army food service programs across the country to put together “Feeding the Need 2011,” a survey conducted between October 2010 and December 2010 that represents the experiences of Salvation Army officers and employees who work directly with clients in need.

Based on the national feedback we’ve seen from our food service programs, there are many Americans still struggling and in need of help, despite experts’ assessment that the recession is over.

Here’s a few key findings from our “Feed the Need 2011” survey:

* 94% of Salvation Army food service programs reported an increase in requests for food assistance in 2010.

* Nearly 60% of Salvation Army programs saw donations remain flat or decline from all funding sources, including government, public and private sources.

* Of food programs surveyed, 55% reported that their shelves were half-full or less.

* 23% of programs reported that volunteering rates increased in 2010, a sign that many Americans are beginning to donate time and talent instead of money.

Learn more by downloading the complete “Feeding the Need 2011” survey here.

Donors and volunteers can learn more about supporting The Salvation Army by visiting www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

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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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Brett and Deanna Favre Come Through for Salvation Army in Big Way

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

[Brett and Deana Favre pose with one of the families they sponsored through The Salvation Army.]
Brett and Deana Favre pose with one of the families they sponsored through The Salvation Army. (Photo: Craig Dirkes)

The Salvation Army’s Northern Division (serving Minnesota and North Dakota) shared this story of holiday generosity with us and we couldn’t pass up sharing it with you.

This Christmas the Salvation Army Northern Division wanted to give needy families and individuals in the Twin Cities food baskets with all the fixings for a proper Christmas dinner.

However, they knew it wouldn’t be easy. Their food pantries have seen a 30% – 150% increase in demand since 2008. Plus, they received assistance requests from 1,000 more families this year than they did last, but donations were down nearly half a million dollars.

So the Army launched a fundraising effort with a goal of $60,000 in order to provide food for 2,000 families…but they only raised $300.

Then they received a call from Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre’s and his wife Deanna’s community outreach rep. The couple wanted to adopt some families through The Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family Program and wanted to know what other ways they could help. After hearing about the Army’s food baskets plan, they donated the entire $60,000 out of their personal funds to cover the project. Thanks to their generosity, 2,000 families and individuals received two boxes stuffed full of food.

[Brett and Deana Favre hang out with families at a private meet and greet.]
Brett and Deana Favre hang out with families at a private meet and greet. (Photo: Craig Dirkes_

Plus, they adopted four families in need, all of whom were in some way battling cancer, an issue close to Deanna Favre’s heart.

Not only did Brett and Deanna purchase generous presents for each sponsored family, they set up a meet and greet at the Vikings practice facility where kids and parents got to hang out with the star couple.

When asked why he supported The Salvation Army programs, Favre said he strongly believed it’s much better to give than to receive.

The Salvation Army Northern Division posted photos here on their Flickr page.

We don’t know how to say thank you enough to the Favres for their kindness! The Salvation Army is blessed by their generosity and it helped bring a very happy close to the year for thousands of our clients.

Favre chats and signs an autograph for a young fan. (Photo: Craig Dirkes)

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