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 Matthew and Cristina Trantham
For most of his life, Jim just wanted to make a difference in the world.
As a child, Jim’s parents took time to explain how giving to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettles meant that people who needed help the most would receive it. Every Christmas season he would remember these lessons and was sure to put money in the kettles when he could. The need was brought closer to home when his brother became homeless and required help from The Salvation Army to get back on his feet.
Around that same time, Jim had taken a new job as a truck driver and began hauling food to all corners of the United States. He enjoyed the travel but became frustrated when, for whatever reason, the customer did not accept the delivery. Because of the expense in transporting an unwanted load back to a warehouse, the company simply wanted Jim to dispose of the food. He still remembers the first time he realized he could make a big difference.
“The first thing I donated to The Salvation Army was 500 pounds of chicken breast. The company didn’t want to pay to bring it back so they said I could just get rid of it. The Salvation Army just stood out in my mind and I loved knowing that I could help people.”
As long as Jim was driving, this scene repeated itself every time a customer failed to accept a delivery. Jim would call the local office of The Salvation Army and arrange to deliver the food where it was needed. Over the years, Jim has provided tons of food for the individuals and families most in need.
However, after losing his job, Jim began to experience his own difficulties that eventually exhausted his resources and left him without a place to live. He spent a number of weeks living in his car, until the coldest night of the year made him realize he needed help. It was New Year’s Day when he arrived at the shelter.
“I started my year off right at The Salvation Army,” Jim smiles as he recalls that day, “And I built everything from there.”
A short stay at the shelter enabled Jim to get back on his feet. He made lifelong friends during his stay and even helped them by driving them from the shelter to various job sites. Jim was able to quickly reestablish himself and wanted to do what he could to give back to people who had become like family. Just a few months after leaving the shelter, he went back to serve. This time he brought a group of young people from a church he had recently started attending. The kids were able to give back in a powerful way that will impact them for years to come, much like the way learning about The Salvation Army had an impact on Jim. Today, he continues to give back and to help people who find themselves in situations similar to his.
“I was very fortunate.” Jim says, knowingly, “But there are a lot of people who have been a lot less fortunate than I was – who are still in the predicament and those are the people I want to reach.”
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.