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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From Homeless to Successful CEO

Monday, September 20, 2010

If you’re ever discouraged by your circumstances, here’s a story to help encourage you to not give up hope:

Eight years ago Stephanie Tillman and her family were evicted from their house and were left with nothing. They ended up in a Salvation Army homeless shelter in Kansas where they received housing, food and support for the next four months.

Thanks to contacts made at The Salvation Army, the Tillman family was able to move out of the shelter and begin reestablishing their lives. Stephanie found a job in an engineering firm. Things were looking up.

Stephanie eventually branched out and opened her own graphic design company Crossover Graphics (now ikros.com), which has grown exponentially into a multi-million dollar company since its establishment in 2007. She serves as CEO and her husband works as the CIO, and they have hired ten employees to help support the burgeoning business. Their circumstances today stand in stark contrast to what they were several years ago.

This Thursday, Stephanie will host a ribbon cutting event to celebrate her company’s new headquarters. As a part of the festivities, she’s donating $25,000 to the local Salvation Army to help fund a new homeless shelter that will be built next year!

A media advisory explains the generous gift: “The Salvation Army provided shelter and love to Stephanie and her family, which helped turn her life around. This experience was instrumental in going from homeless to owner of a business established in 2007 that has experienced 555% growth within the last year.”

What an inspiring, real life example for everyone that just because circumstances can take a turn for the worse, all is not lost! And during those most difficult times, The Salvation Army aims to be that beacon of hope when things seem to be at their worst.

Thank you to Stephanie for her generous donation that will help The Salvation continue to provide families and individuals with the resources and opportunities they need to get back on their feet, just like the Tillman family. Best of luck to your entrepreneurial endeavors!

Stay connected with The Salvation Army by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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The Fruits of Their Labor

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What did you do on Labor Day?

Maybe you spent the waning days of summer by the pool or over a sizzling grill. Or maybe you skipped town for a brief getaway. Or maybe you had a lot of big ideas but never seemed to get beyond changing out of your pajamas.

If you’re like me, your aspirations for the Labor Day holiday probably didn’t include much laboring.

But 60 volunteers in Charlotte, North Carolina had a different idea. They spent their day off cleaning, painting, and transforming a Sunday school building into an emergency overflow shelter for homeless women. The site is being opened by The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope, whose main facility is experiencing overcrowding and must sometimes turn women away.

The Salvation Army expects the overflow shelter will be ready to open next week after one more volunteer-work day.

We appreciate these volunteers and the Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church (who donated use of the facility) for making it possible for The Salvation Army to better to serve the city’s homeless. Thanks to their efforts, at least 50 more women will have a safe place to rest their heads at night.

You can check out a video news story on these Labor Day laborers HERE.

To learn more about The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, visit their website HERE

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Congrats, Culinary Grads!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Congratulations to the newest graduates of The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program in Louisville, Kentucky! Chef Timothy Tucker’s program marked its 5th anniversary last week with a ceremony recognizing 10 more individuals who have successfully completed the intensive, hands-on courses. The students, all of whom are either homeless or living below the poverty line, began their classes about 10 weeks ago with little to no knowledge of the kitchen and now are equipped with the skills they need to be competitive candidates for employment in the food and hospitality industry.

And as an exciting Program first, alumni Jackson Hodges was awarded a two year scholarship valued around $40,000 to Sullivan University where has the opportunity to study either culinary arts or baking and pastries!

Chef Tucker’s program has been gaining attention around the community and across the country for its innovative way of fighting homelessness and poverty. This formally-trained chef left a lucrative career and joined The Salvation Army, where he’s invited the disadvantaged and destitute to join him in the kitchen. As they work over cutting boards and stove tops, there’s more than just great food being served. Somewhere along the way the students have cooked up hope, empowerment, and a permanent solution towards self-sufficiency.

Read more about The Salvation Army’s Culinary Training Program on our Salvation Army national blog here and at the Culinary Program’s websites www.cheftimothytucker.com and www.cheftimothytucker.blogspot.com. You can also show them your support by following them on Facebook!

Again, congratulations grads! We can’t wait to see the many opportunities that await you.

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‘Pepsi Refresh’ Competitors Form Partnership to Fight Homelessness

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You may be familiar with the Pepsi Refresh Project that we’ve mentioned recently on our social media sites, but if not, here’s a quick recap: The Pepsi Refresh Project awards up to $1.3 million every month to people, businesses, and non-profits for ideas that will positively impact communities. Grants are awarded according to ideas that earn the most online votes within the $5K, $25K, $50K, and $250K categories.

Several Salvation Army units are in the running this month with their own original, creative ideas of how to improve their local communities. Two of these units have proposed plans focused on serving the homeless population, and they need your votes for the plans to come to fruition.

In the $250K grant category, The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division would use the funds to provide an additional 1,000 nights of shelter for Detroit’s homeless, plus 155,254 more meals to needy seniors, families and individuals through food pantries and mobile feeding trucks. They already provide more than 5,000 meals to people every day! You can help them achieve their goal by voting for this idea once a day, every day until August 31 at http://www.refresheverything.com/salmich.

In the $50K category, The Salvation Army Knoxville would use the grant to “Refresh” their Women’s Transitional Housing Program dormitory. The facility has housed hundreds of women, an average of 150 per year, for thousands of days using the same used beds, mattresses, lockers and partitions obtained when the program began in 1997. Purchasing new housing items through this grant would provide the women greater safety, privacy, and comfort, increasing their potential for success in rebuilding their lives. You can support this great idea by voting once a day, every day until August 31 at http://www.refresheverything.com/knoxredshield2010.

While competition tends to almost require an “every man for himself” mentality, these Salvation Army units have actually partnered with other competitors of the Pepsi Refresh Project to promote one another’s projects among their supporter bases. Why would they do that? Because these diverse organizations from Connecticut to Washington state are pooling their efforts for the greater cause of fighting homelessness! Since forming the unlikely alliance, the organizations have moved up in the vote rankings, meaning they are all that much closer to their shared aspiration of better serving some of most vulnerable and needy members of our communities. To see the list of these organizations and read their proposals to help the homeless, click here: http://pep.si/a1pWmF.

Don’t forget, you can vote once a day, every day for each idea until August 31. Helping support The Salvation Army and these great ideas is as easy as a click of a mouse!

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Innovative New Equipment Helps Salvation Army Stretch Services for Area’s Hungry

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Salvation Army in Lubbock, TX has a brand new piece of equipment called the Rapid Response Unit that will help feed more people and boost efficiency. It’s not only the first of its kind, it’s also the only of its kind – no other Salvation Army in the nation has one yet!

According to their Facebook page, The Salvation Army of Lubbock says the Rapid Response Unit is small enough to fit in a truck bed or trailer and will expand their reach to 150 miles beyond the service area of Salvation Army canteens, larger mobile kitchens also used to serve food and drinks during emergencies.

The Rapid Response Unit was designed for on-the-street feedings and can hold up to 12 food trays, ice chests, drink containers, has plenty of room for storage and can be operated by one person. Salvation Army personnel are excited about serving the community with this versatile new equipment!

Check out a story on the Rapid Response Unit run by local news station FOX 34 here: Local Salvation Army reveals new, innovative equipment

Find more information about this and services offered by The Salvation Army Lubbock on their Facebook page or visit their website at http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/.

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Formerly Homeless Families Find New Hope in New Houses

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This summer in Glendale, California, one family made a seemingly ordinary move into a new 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment within a small complex pleasantly named Chester Village.

However, for this mother, this was an extraordinary event as it was the first time in several years that she and her young children were finally all living together under one roof. For her, this new home represented a world of fresh beginnings and opportunities after overcoming substance abuse and homelessness, struggles that contributed to the state at one point removing her children from her care. But now, after showing her commitment to stay clean, she’s found a chance to turn her life around and offer her family stability in their new home at Chester Village.

In fact, all the families living in the 4 unit complex of Chester Village share something in common with this experience of hardship. That’s because the apartments are a unique development by The Salvation Army of Glendale meant to house formerly homeless families in order to help them transition into a stable and self-sufficient lifestyle. To qualify for housing at least one parent must have a disability stemming from substance abuse, but in order to reside in the apartment they must also have completed a substance abuse program and commit to sobriety, as well as stay for 3-5 years and show a pursuit of more education or job skills training.

The Salvation Army, with the support of the city of Glendale, overcame many obstacles over several years before finally seeing Chester Village open to accept its first occupants, but just the impact it has had already in inspiring and transforming families once devoid of hope has made the pursuit worth it.

Read more details about Chester Village’s official opening and resident testimonies in an article featured by Glendale News-Press: An army of support

Additional information about how The Salvation Army’s Glendale Corps is doing the most good in their community can be found on their website at www.glendalecorps.org.

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Employment Assistance Program Places 100th Client in Full-Time Job

Monday, July 12, 2010

Video from NBC 10 WBIR News

These days it’s a tough job market.

But The Salvation Army in Knoxville, TN is equipping the unemployed with the tools they need to find jobs despite the challenging climate through their Employment Assistance Program. This program recently hit an exciting milestone this month after placing its 100th client in a full-time position!

The program actually began in 2008 with a one-year grant from the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, but when the grant was not renewed, The Salvation Army’s Director of Programs Ola Blackmon-McBride, decided to continue it rather than let the program die. She has been running the program using Salvation Army resources and personnel since November.

The program averages about 24 new clients a month. More than half of those will stick with the program until they find a job. With limited resources – three computers and one telephone – Case Manager Angela Childers helps clients search for jobs, prepare resumes, write cover letters and prepare for interviews.

Childers deals with a variety of challenges that make it difficult for men seeking to turn their lives around. “Some of the men have a criminal history, most have never put together a resume and few have any experience with a computer or using the internet to find and apply for jobs,” she said. “In addition, the current economy has more qualified job seekers looking for lower level jobs.”

Childers said that the men who apply themselves are still finding work, in spite of the challenges. “If they are putting 100% into the program, it usually takes two to three weeks to find employment.”

The Salvation Army is excited for the new opportunities awaiting these 100 individuals who have persevered through our program and found new jobs, and we can’t wait for the next 100! And thank you to the staff in Knoxville for your efforts everyday in helping others turn their lives around for the better.

Members of the community who would like to support this valuable program and its effort to fight unemployment and homelessness can volunteer or provide in-kind donations, such as toiletries and bus passes as most of the men do not have transportation.

For more information about The Salvation Army Knoxville, visit their website at www.SalvationArmyKnoxville.org.

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