Forecasters are saying the country is currently experiencing the coldest air of the winter season, with many states reporting dangerous and sometimes deadly wind chills. On days like this, being outside for any length of time can be pretty miserable, but for some, there are few options available. During times like this, The Salvation Army [...]
A clean pair of socks is something that most people take for granted. But did you know that socks are the number one requested item at our homeless shelters? So we’re ecstatic to announce that Hanes, America’s #1 sock brand, is once again warming the hearts and feet of our shelter residents by donating 250,000 [...]
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).
This verse from Jeremiah is the foundation for The Salvation Army’s 2012 Online Annual Report’s theme, “Hope and Future”, now available at http://annualreport.salvationarmyusa.org/.
On Sunday, June 10, The Salvation Army is taking part in recognizing Abused Women and Children’s Awareness Day, an opportunity to reflect on how we can stop the violence that is destroying the lives and well-being of children and promote ways to aid victims.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of running in The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command’s inaugural Kettle Classic 5K race in Washington, DC. All proceeds from the registration fees to the company sponsors of the race benefited The Salvation Army’s Turning Point Center in DC, a residential facility for homeless women and children in need.
Ready for Mission, Equipped for Service That was the theme of The Salvation Army‘s National Social Services and Disaster Management Conference that was held last month in Phoenix. The five-day meeting hosted inspiring speakers and workshops to help Salvation Army officers and employees refine their skills and deepen their commitment to the life-changing work of social [...]
Did you know socks are the #1 item requested at our homeless shelters? And thanks to Hanes’ generous donation of 250,000 pairs this last Christmas season, our shelters were able to provide many individuals with this much-needed and often overlooked commodity.
Guest blogger Captain Phil Smith in Santa Barbara, California decided to use part of their sock donation to support their “Street Level” Outreach Ministry.
Sleep and shelter: two of our most basic needs.
Thanks to Stearns & Foster’s hugely successful “Gift of Sleep” holiday program, residents at our shelters will receive both… along with a very comfortable bed!
The company, which is owned by Sealy, is donating $1 million worth of new mattresses to The Salvation Army.
Popular bedding manufacturer Stearns & Foster, owned by Sealy, is helping residents at Salvation Army shelters sleep comfortably thanks to their Gift of Sleep holiday program.
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!