For nearly 150 years The Salvation Army has relied on the generosity of supporters just like you to help fulfill our mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination. We are so grateful for your ever-reliable support. It has enabled us to have a powerful impact on our community over the past year.
We believe in this community, and will continuously strive to improve the well-being of those that live here. We will continue to offer life-changing programs that improve their lives. We will continue to be focused on being a trusted source of help and compassion.
The stories and statistics in this report only begin to communicate the real impact that your support represents on a daily basis. When you drop money in our Red Kettles, when you visit our website to contribute, when you volunteer at one of our local programs, or when you share the story of The Salvation Army with your friends and family, you continue to help transform the lives of your neighbors who are in the greatest need.
The success of the army is rooted in our faith and supporters. It is our prayer that you will continue to help us change the lives of those that we serve with your time, talent and treasure.
Major Lynda and Captain Christopher Thornhill
For most of her career, Melani appeared to be the consummate professional. She was well educated, well respected, and had completed nearly 25 years of state employment. Despite the appearance of stability, however, Melani’s world was about to drastically change.
“I had been on medication for anxiety and depression since I was about 25 years old but things really changed for me when my mother died. I became more and more isolated. I started using alcohol more and also drugs. As time went on, I developed serious addiction problems. I lost my job, my car, my house, my retirement. Everything.”
Melani’s entire world had been thrown into disarray. Her resources were gone. As she struggled with finding money to feed her addiction, the relationships with her family members dissolved. Feeling empty and depleted, a man offered to buy her a cheeseburger if she would agree to perform a sexual act on him. Though she refused, she knew that if she continued in her current state, she might eventually say yes.
At that moment she knew she needed to change.
It took her three days to save just fifty cents to make a call from a payphone. She called her brother and told him that she needed help.
Melani’s brother was able to help her enter a detox facility. Now sober, she still had no place to go when discharged. Fortunately, the staff at the facility connected her with representatives of The Salvation Army. There she received assistance to help her rebuild her life and encouragement to continue in her newfound sobriety. She had found a community of people who understood her situation. They cared and wanted her to succeed.
“Many people believe that homelessness could never happen to them; I certainly thought that. But it happened to me and it could happen again if I lose focus.”
Melani attributes her rise to God’s love and forgiveness and a safe, encouraging environment at The Salvation Army where healing could take place. Through The Salvation Army, she continues to share her story with the hope that her situation might encourage others to receive the help and spiritual direction that they need.
“The most important part of my recovery is spiritual healing. God helps me every day make meaning of my experiences. He gives me the strength to face my many fears and my shame and my guilt. He guides me as I try to re-connect with my family and as I try to develop new friends. These are incredibly difficult and complex things to do.”
Marvin knows that he was not the sort of person that could be trusted. He had an incredibly dark past. For 30 years he was a drug dealer, an addict and worse. He would stay high for days at a time and was often in trouble with the law. Still, during a time of incarceration, he knew that something had to change.
He could never have anticipated the way that it would happen.
“I walked outside ready to make a drug deal and the sun hit me and I just heard a voice and it said `It’s time.’ I went into the house and came back out, and I heard it again. I knew it was God. I called my niece and she brought me to The Salvation Army.”
After completing a drug rehabilitation program, The Salvation Army helped him to get his life back on track. He was given an opportunity to serve others who were struggling with their own issues. The Salvation Army gave him a job helping with other programs that ministered to those who found themselves in situations much like his own. The Salvation Army saw the change in Marvin’s life and trusted him to help others. That’s when he knew that his life had been changed.
“After four months working the night shift they gave me the keys to the doors. They respected me, and for them to give me the opportunity to do things and not judge me because of my past and what I used to do, they became my family. It’s very rare for someone who doesn’t know you, to trust you like that.”
Incredibly, as a new man, Marvin discovered a passion for mentoring young people. He teaches lessons on teamwork, attentiveness and good values. He makes himself available to listen to stories about their home and school lives, and he encourages the young people to hold each other accountable and reach for a higher standard.
Marvin credits The Salvation Army with teaching him about Jesus Christ, about forgiveness and how to be a man of integrity. He discovered that his life was not defined by his past. Thanks to the love of God and The Salvation Army, Marvin has experienced a complete and total transformation.
“On my 47th birthday I played basketball by myself in the rain, and just cried. For the first time in 30 years I was celebrating my birthday clean. If it weren’t for The Salvation Army, I wouldn’t have known my purpose. I have found my passion.”