Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! As we recognize those who gave their lives in service to our nation, do you plan to participate in any events taking place around your community? The Salvation Army will be out and about, so make plans to join us!

Here are just a few of the many ways The Salvation Army will be serving others and recognizing Memorial Day:

San Francisco Bay Area, California – Since 1924, The Salvation Army has held an annual Memorial Day service at Cypress Lawn to honor our fallen soldiers. They will continue the tradition this Sunday, when they’ll remember service members with song, prayer, scripture, and an inspirational message. Click here for more info on this and other area events.

Nashville, Tennessee – Member s of the community are invited to honor veterans and their families at the National Cemetery on Memorial Day, where food and beverages will be served throughout the day. Visitors are welcome to share their war and Salvation Army service stories.

Davenport, Iowa – The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) will take members of its recovery program for a fun day at the county park, where they’ll be able to relax with their families and grill out. Plus, members of the Salvation Army’s Des Moines ARC will also join and challenge Davenport in a friendly game of softball.

Kodiak, Alaska – During the annual Kodiak Crab Festival, The Salvation Army will team up with the local fire department to serve delicious homemade doughnuts to festival attendees. They estimate that they’ll make and serve about 1,500 doughnuts!

Seattle, Washington – On Saturday and Sunday The Salvation Army will sponsor a community volunteer event at the State Convention Center to pack a million meals for Haiti earthquake survivors. Just a few hours of your time can make a huge difference for those in need. Follow the link to volunteer: http://salvationarmynw.org/haiti/ .

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Hey, Northwest! Here’s Your Opportunity to Help Haiti

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

[Million Meal Event]
Photo: The Salvation Army Western Territory

As The Salvation Army continues our relief work in Haiti following January’s earthquake, we need 2,000 volunteers to help us prepare more meals for earthquake survivors.

The Salvation Army and Numana Inc. will be hosting another Million Meals Packing event next weekend in Seattle, Washington on Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30 at the Washington State Convention Center.

You and your friends are invited to the packing party, where you will prepare bags of vitamin-fortified rice, beans and vegetables. One bag is enough to feed a family of six! The work required is simple, but it’s a great time and your efforts will go a long way in benefiting the lives of others in need.

*If you’re in the Seattle area and ready to volunteer a few hours of your time, visit The Salvation Army Northwest Division’s registration page at http://www.salvationarmynw.org/haiti for more information.*

For fun photos of past events, check out The Salvation Army Western Territory’s Flickr page here.

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Seattle Woman Finds Help, Hope, and a Mission Through Aid from Salvation Army

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celeste Smith was well acquainted with the Seattle social scene and an insider among the city’s exclusive social clubs. She sits on boards, has served as president (multiple times) of prestigious clubs, and lives in a nice home on the affluent eastside of the city. Celeste recounted to me that as she passed Salvation Army Bell Ringers outside store fronts at Christmas time, she would regularly donate to the iconic Red Kettles. However, she said she never stopped to think about what her donations meant for the person on “the other side.”

[Celeste]
Celeste Smith says she donated to The Salvation Army, but she never expected to be in need of The Salvation Army’s help.

Until, that is, she became that other person. After being diagnosed with aggressive stage 2A breast cancer, Celeste underwent heavy treatments, leaving her exhausted and unable to continue her job as a realtor.

“I had a lumpectomy in April, radiation July-August, and chemotherapy and Herceptin treatments which concluded in October 2009. During this time and since I have had no income except a Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) check of $339.00 a month, food stamps and the generosity of friends.”

Celeste filed bankruptcy, her house went into foreclosure, and she had to sell her belongings or borrow money from people in order to make ends meet. She soon felt hopeless.

“I was so despondent. There was no place to draw from,” she said. “It’s not just about being depressed, it’s about feeling hopeless. To me, that’s a different thing. I couldn’t find one thing to take any kind of hope in. It was a moving thing for me. When I got to that point, I realized this was huge.”

Celeste sought out help and was referred to The Salvation Army (TSA) to begin to get a grasp on her finances. She visited February 17. During her appointment, Celeste’s Salvation Army caseworker talked to her about utility assistance through the emergency financial assistance umbrella program. That same day, TSA pledged $269 towards her overdue utility balances, which covered her outstanding electric bill, and all but $60 of her gas bill. The funds were paid to the companies, which postponed Celeste’s pending utility shut off, and TSA made an appointment for her with another organization called Hopelink to cover the cost of her remaining gas bill. She left that day with her utility service intact and a short term plan for her finances.

Once without hope, Celeste has now found encouragement in the assistance she received through TSA, and she says she feels like she’s moving forward.

“I just have to take it day by day. Even though now I don’t know where I’m going, I’m fairly positive because I’m better than I was. I have gone through this for a reason, for my own life learning. Maybe the social world of private club life isn’t where I need to be. I have to be positive because I feel like now I have a little bit of a mission. I want to help other people.”

Celeste’s doctor says she is in remission and her prognosis is good. Celeste hopes to start a foundation that will help single, low income women like her who have been diagnosed with cancer. She says when she becomes more financially solvent she would like to continue supporting TSA.

“The process of requesting help from all agencies is laborious and difficult to navigate making a difficult process even more exhausting. If it was not for non-profits like The Salvation Army to pay utility bills and water I am not sure where I would be. In the dark I suppose.”

For more information about The Salvation Army’s ongoing efforts, visit our national website at www.salvationarmyusa.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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