One hundred and fifty years ago William Booth, a London minister, gave up his pulpit to take the message of hope and salvation to the street where it would reach the poor. He knew that his mission to preach the gospel could only be achieved if he first met the basic needs of men and women. He did it through an army of dedicated people who would take this message directly to homeless and hurting. Today, his vision of hope is still alive through the countless donors, volunteers, officers, and employees who are The Salvation Army.
The work of The Salvation Army is as varied as the communities in which we serve. We may be providing shelter, or food, or a safe and enriching place for children and youth. We may be helping with homework, or teaching job skills, or digging a family out of their stormravaged home. The mission of The Salvation Army never changes; we serve wherever and whenever we can, without discrimination.
In these pages you will see the faces of some of our neighbors and learn more about the impact of The Salvation Army in our community. As we move Forward! as an army, we know that the life-changing programs and services we provide for people struggling with poverty, disaster, homelessness, and addiction help them move forward as well.
The Salvation Army could not do this important work without the support of people like you and me. When we add our voices, our time, and our resources to the mission, we help move The Salvation Army Forward! and make a difference in countless lives in our community. Thank you.
God bless you,
Majors Dean and Pamela Moretz
Keyvon is a fun-loving eleven year old jokester who loves to make people smile. Unlike most children his age, he likes to keep everything neat and tidy. He even maintains a to-do list for all of the things he wants to complete each day. Watching him with his friends, he seems like a typical, carefree kid. You would never know that his home life is anything but typical.
One of seven kids, Keyvon serves as the mediator among his siblings when they’re home alone. His mother, a single-parent, works full-time with additional third-shift hours to help pay the bills. When The Salvation Army staff started noticing a behavior change in Keyvon’s siblings and mother, they called a family meeting. Keyvon spoke about many of the challenges. Together, the group came up with solutions, one being attending church as a family. A year later, the entire family still attends regularly. Keyvon’s father also joins them on many occasions and is becoming more present with the family.
For Keyvon, The Boys & Girls Club has been a stabilizing influence for more than half of his life. He has formed relationships with positive role models who have helped him with more than just homework. They have taught him important lessons about life and faith that will remain with him for years to come.
Keyvon has made lifelong friendships with the other children at the club. Regardless of the challenges each day might bring, he knows that his friends will always be there.
"I have a lot of friends that I see at the club. During the school year we do homework, have a snack, and then we play some activities. We play things like four corners and board games. It’s a lot of fun."
Kids Keyvon's age have dreams of being the next superstar. He can’t decide whether he would rather be a surgeon or a scientist. While so many children face challenges, the advantages that Keyvon has are a safe place to learn and grow and ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals.
He has the Boys & Girls Club.
“When I got to The Salvation Army, I was broken.” As she recalls a more difficult time, Anita’s face reveals a complex set of emotions. “I was broken spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically. I just didn’t want to continue on.”
Today, Anita is a proud volunteer with The Salvation Army. She enthusiastically helps out in any way she can, knowing that the things she does have a direct impact on the lives of individuals and families in her community. Despite being in school and working to expand her opportunities, she knows that her work here is important and life-giving. Anita also volunteers with The Salvation Army because she remembers a time when she, herself, was struggling just to get back on her feet.
At a young age, a family member gave Anita drugs. While she doesn’t know if that person knew the effect that these drugs would have on her, for many years that followed, Anita wrestled with severe addiction. Her dependency helped create a perfect storm that culminated in domestic violence. Knowing she had to escape, Anita found herself without a place to live. She was hungry and alone.
“When I was homeless, walking around on those streets, I was feeling really awful. And I wasn’t even sure how to start realizing, you know, what really was going on in my life at the time. All I knew is that I couldn’t go home.”
While homeless, Anita continued to deal with the effects of her addiction. She knew that she needed help. Finding help for issues related to substance use can be extremely difficult. Simply through word of mouth, Anita learned about how The Salvation Army helped others work to get back on their feet. She didn’t know what to expect but realized she had nowhere else to turn.
Anita says she would like to forget her earliest experiences with The Salvation Army. She was dealing with years of frustration and pain and remembers lashing out at the staff there and leaving the program. When she later returned she was amazed to have The Salvation Army welcome her back with open arms.
“The Salvation Army looked at me with God-like eyes and they saw some good in me. They had seen something worth saving like they do with so many others.”
Anita is proud to serve The Salvation Army and feels as though what she received from them was more than she could ever repay. She has gotten her life back. She is in school and studying for a career in computer technology or human resources.
“I don’t know, it may sound crazy, but I’m just excited to be a part of The Salvation Army. I’m just excited to have a life. I’m excited to be living instead of just existing.”
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to every Advisory Board member. Thank you for bringing your passion, intellect, insight, experience and resources to move The Salvation Army forward. Your service and leadership are essential in changing the lives of people in our communities.
Dr. Alexander Willis