Indiana Advisory Board Member Donates Playground

Thursday, June 7, 2012
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Beyond the confines of a brick wall outside The Salvation Army’s Ruth Lilly Shelter for Women and Children, youngsters screamed and giggled.

They chased one another through the mulch covered playground, only stopping to climb or bounce on the obstacles that happened to land in their path.

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Homeless Youth Find Respite at SA Shelters

Monday, May 7, 2012
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This statistic might surprise you: 1 out of every 3 homeless people are under the age of 18. This year, 1.6 to 1.7 million youths (under 18 years of age) will experience homelessness.

I know, a little heavy for Monday morning! Facts like these are the very reasons why The Salvation Army strives each day to battle cyclical youth homelessness.

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Fighting Food Insecurity

Thursday, May 3, 2012
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Last week, Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, released its Map the Meal Gap 2012 – a report on the estimates of food insecurity in the…

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Food Pantry Empowers Visitors

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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The Salvation Army of Portland has empowered visitors to their food pantry. Thanks to a generous $9,800 grant from LIFE Center Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, clients who would normally stop by the pantry for a box of food can now shop and select what foods they most need in their household.

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Dishin’ out love in Dallas

Thursday, February 9, 2012
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We sometimes wonder if Salvation Army National Advisory Board (NAB) Chairperson Charlotte Jones Anderson ever has a moment to relax!

Just two weeks after January’s NAB meeting wrapped up in San Diego, Charlotte was back in her hometown of Dallas yesterday serving lunch to 275 men and women at The Salvation Army’s Carr P. Collins Social Service Center.

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Fundraising for Fish: Shelter Works to Save Health-Promoting Friends

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The following was contributed by Guest Blogger Kathy Lovin, Public Affairs and Communications Manager – Salvation Army’s Western Territory

In study after study, researchers find that people who watch fish in an aquarium can experience surprising health benefits, such as a decrease in blood pressure, muscle tension and pulse rate!

For instance, one study found that tanks full of brightly-colored fish in the dining room of the memory care unit at a convalescent center increased Alzheimer’s patients’ nutritional intake. That’s why the staff of The Salvation Army’s Bell Shelter in Southern California is trying to raise money to save their 300 gallon saltwater fish tank.

The Bell Shelter is home to about 300 to 350 residents at a time. It’s the largest homeless shelter West of the Mississippi and is located in a converted 40,000 square-foot hangar formerly used as a U.S. Army Air Base. It costs about $200 to $250 per month to feed the fish and clean and maintain the Bell Shelter’s tank. And that’s only if everything’s functioning properly. When a pump or a light needs to be replaced, the cost goes up.

But Paul Wager says the expense is worth it. He should know; he’s the Bell Shelter’s on-staff psychotherapist who helps the residents get their mental health needs met. Of the homeless population, Paul says between 30 – 50% have legitimate mental health issues.

The tank is in the main hall of the shelter in a high traffic area. There are benches along the opposite wall so folks can sit and gaze at the fish to their heart’s content. There are about two dozen fish in all, including clownfish, damselfish, dottybacks, basslets, and anthias.
Paul says the tank has a calming effect on the residents. Watching the tank allows them to relax and take a mental vacation from the challenges in their lives. The fish are such a part of their daily routine that many name their favorites and stand in front the tank to wait for them to swim by every day.

On Friday, September 16 Bell Shelter held a barbecue fundraiser to “Save Nemo and His Friends.” Staff and volunteers bought tickets for lunch and an opportunity drawing that will hopefully bring in much-needed funds so they can keep the tank. They want to give the fish a permanent home while they help the residents ease the transition into a stable, long-term home of their own too.

Click here for a link to fascinating a research paper on the health benefits of companion animals – including fish!

Click here to learn more about the Bell Shelter.

Check out Kathy’s Blog at www.SalvationArmyExpectChange.org!

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Looking Beyond the Numbers

Monday, September 19, 2011

We blogged last week about the increased number of Americans living in poverty which has reached a record 46.2 million people – or one in six Americans. According to the same reporting agency, the top five poorest states are Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Louisiana. Failed government policies from years past and a continued decline in GDP have taken a drastic toll on the jobs market and the American way of life. The poverty rate is the “highest of any major industrialized nation”.

This past week, reporters from The Associated Press scavenged the poorest areas of the country in search for a few of the stories behind this record-breaking number. The accounts include very real depictions of the prevalent poverty struggle in America. Most frustratingly, those without jobs often live in the communities with the fewest resources for finding another. Adding to this vicious cycle are the struggles of feeding a growing family or caring for ill loved ones who are unable to contribute. Families find themselves destitute once government assistance ends or help from the community isn’t an option anymore.

Read the stories here.

Among the accounts is that of Monique Brown, a single mom with four children who, up until two weeks ago, was homeless. When the recession hit in 2008, Monique lost both of her jobs in Florida and decided to move her family to Alabama in order to live near her brother. The Salvation Army of Birmingham provided shelter to Monique and her family for several weeks, eventually helping her find a public housing unit. They paid for her furniture, appliances and rent deposits. She now has a home where she can adequately care for her two-year-old son and continue her search for work. With help from The Salvation Army and other donations, her children have beds again.

The Salvation Army provides housing and homeless services nationwide. Along with providing food and lodging for the homeless, The Salvation Army addresses the health and educational needs of residents and seeks to address the issues causing the need. For more information on The Salvation Army Housing and Homeless Services, please visit our website at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

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Salvation Army Prepares to Serve Ahead of Massive Winter Storm

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Across the country The Salvation Army is making preparations for the massive winter storm forecast to bear down today and tomorrow on states stretching from the Midwest all the way to the Northeast.

Feeding locations and mobile kitchens are being stocked and readied to serve hot meals in many areas. Pending a review of tonight’s expected conditions, The Salvation Army in Nebraska hopes their Winter Night Watch (WNW) program will be able to roam the streets of Omaha to distribute food and drinks to the homeless, as well as winter outerwear for those in need.

As temperatures drop into the teens and negative digits, the homeless or anyone in need of a safe, warm place is encouraged to head to Salvation Army warming centers open across Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and other states. Specific addresses are being reported by the local media or can be found by contacting your nearest Salvation Army.

In Chicago, where they’re predicting historic blizzard conditions, the city’s Emergency Services Director has announced they will be partnering with The Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and other organizations to effectively coordinate storm response. Many of our Salvation Army Divisions, in fact, are participating in conference calls today to plan with local governments and other entities.

If you or your loved ones are in the storm’s path, we hope you stay warm and safe over these next few days.

Check back soon for updates on The Salvation Army’s efforts.

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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

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Haiti: 6 Months Later

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Since responding to the massive earthquake that jarred Haiti six months ago, The Salvation Army continues work side by side the recovering communities. We have transitioned from focusing on the provision of immediate needs, including temporary shelter, food, water and medical aid, to providing for long-term needs that will help survivors get back to a level of normalcy in their lives.

And today, in an exciting step for many displaced Haitians, we’ve completed construction of 600 long-term intermediary housing shelters in Jacmel to help relocate those displaced by the earthquake back to their home communities.

Our Transitional Shelter Program has been a great way to empower Haitians during this reconstruction process. In a nation where more than 2/3 of the labor force is unemployed, more than 400 Haitians have been hired as carpenters and construction crew-members to assist in reconstruction efforts and be actively involved with reestablishing their communities.

The shelters house on average five people and last several years. With Haiti in the midst of its rainy season, their design will also enable them to withstand strong winds as well as drain water away from the structure, helping to reduce the spread of water-borne illnesses.

Now that hundreds of shelters have been built in Jacmel, The Salvation Army will work with Haitian government officials to plan the development of another 1,000-1,500 homes in the northern coastal community of Petit-Goâve, which was severely damaged by a strong earthquake aftershock in January.

We are excited by the steps being taken by Haitians and the The Salvation Army to help the country heal and emerge from this disaster stronger than before! As The Salvation Army’s Lt. Col. Dan Starrett stated, “These homes are the first steps of many in that direction.”

If you’d like to support our ongoing work in the country, you can give via www.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and text messaging “HAITI” to 52000 with confirming “Yes.”

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