Sealy Gives Shelters the Gift of Sleep

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
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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.

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For a Haircut and Inspiring Story, Lamont’s Your Guy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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!

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Great News for Our Residential Facilities

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Salvation Army residential shelters just got some great news to start off the New Year.

Stearns & Foster (owned by Sealy) announced it’s donating $1 million worth of new mattresses to our facilities across the country. The bedding manufacturer teamed up with retailers during the holidays to offer $100 in donations per mattress set sold, and, to our excitement, they reached the maximum amount of donations.

Stearns & Foster’s generous gift will fulfill a basic need for men, women, and children who need a safe place to stay and comfortable night’s sleep at The Salvation Army.

We have shelter programs operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Last year we provided more than 10 million lodgings to Americans in need.

We can’t wait to get these mattresses out to our communities and see the impact a good night’s sleep will have on the people we serve every day! Thank you to Stearns & Foster and participating retailers for your generous support!

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The Salvation Army Readies for Hurricane Alex

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

As South Texas communities brace themselves for the effects of Hurricane Alex, The Salvation Army is already providing shelter and food to people in preparation for the first hurricane of the season.

Yesterday The Salvation Army opened the doors of its shelter in McAllen, TX to residents evacuating ahead of the storm. They housed 73 people, of which 23 were evacuees, and served 140 meals. They continue to remain on stand-by in case additional help is needed at any of the area designated shelters.

Mobile feeding units called canteens are in place and ready to serve in the southern Texas cities of Corpus Christi, Harlingen, McAllen and Laredo, Texas. Several more canteens are staged in San Antonio with staff and volunteers. The Salvation Army mobile kitchen, capable of preparing 20,000 meals daily, and generator have been made available and are ready for deployment if necessary. The Salvation Army will also provide clean-up kits if excessive flooding results from Hurricane Alex.

“The Salvation Army is anticipating several days of sheltering and mass feeding along the Gulf Coast area”, said Major Terry Israel, Divisional Secretary in Texas.“ These services will be available at least through Friday, and as long as the need exists.”

For more information about The Salvation Army emergency disaster services program or to support The Salvation Army’s emergency relief efforts, please visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. For the latest updates on Salvation Army disaster activities, follow our Disaster Services team on Twitter @SalArmyEDS.

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