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,
Captains Kevin and Wendy Justice
Growing up, Mike describes his childhood as “rather sheltered.” He spent a lot of time at church, playing games with friends after school and reading at home. His passion for books led Mike to aspire to become a writer from a very young age. After high school, he moved to New York and landed a job writing for a television show. Once that job ended, he was unable to find work and fell in with a tough crowd.
"I made some really bad choices," he explained. "But when I went to jail, I was determined to make changes and do something positive with my life."
After his release, Mike returned home to live with his family. He immediately enrolled in college, began volunteering at various organizations and found a job that enabled him to return living on his own. Mike worked to stretch his small income to coverthe bills but it wasn’t long before he found himself behind on his payments. Luckily, a friend told him about The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army’s crisis assistance program alleviated his current situation and also helped stabilize his finances. Mike was able to purchase his books for school and began a savings plan to better prepare himself for emergency situations.
"My life was headed for a downward spiral again but The Salvation Army never made me feel like a client or a charity case," Mike said. "I am so thankful."
Like most parents, April’s one wish for the holidays was to be able to provide for her children – warm food on the table and a few presents under the tree. Many of us take this for granted. Finding herself without a home during the holidays, however, April realized that it would take a Christmas miracle for her wish to come true.
April was working hard to find a job and secure stable housing when she was told about a free afterschool program at The Salvation Army. The assurance that her children would be safe there allowed her increased time to devote to her employment search.
As the staff members at The Salvation Army got to know April and her family a little better, they became aware that the family might have some other needs. They asked April what more they could do to help.
April told the staff about her situation and about her desire to provide Christmas for her family. The staff connected her with other services at The Salvation Army that were able to provide some help with housing assistance.
They were able to help with another need as well.
“They asked me to come in and when I got there they had a bicycle. They also gave me a box of food so we could have a Christmas meal as well. My kids knew I didn’t have any money so they didn’t think they were going to get anything. When they woke up and they went into the living room and they were screaming, we got Christmas! They were so excited and were opening up the gifts and for the first time they were able to go out and ride their bikes.”
April’s relationship with The Salvation Army started when she heard about the afterschool care they provided. Thanks to the caring and attentive staff, The Salvation Army was able to help in more ways than April could ever have imagined.
Today, April has a steady job. She is proud to own her own townhome. Her kids still participate in after school programs. Through all of this, she has come to see The Salvation Army as much more than just the bells she heard at Christmas.
“When I first came in they treated me like they had known me for years and you know they welcomed me. Not just me but my kids too. I don’t really have a family so The Salvation Army was like my family that I haven’t had in a real long time.”
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.
Mary Lou Priest