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 Chris and Lynda Thornhill
Only a few years ago, Diondra would not have said that a rewarding career was anywhere in her future. She was a dedicated student who paid attention, worked hard, and completed her assignments. Despite her efforts, though, she struggled in some areas – Math, in particular. She continued to work hard but became more deeply frustrated when her grades did not seem to match her effort.
“My math was really bad,” she said. “I couldn’t understand anything that the teacher was telling us.”
Diondra began to wonder about what this would mean for her future. Like so many in her situation, she worried about her prospects for attending college and finding employment. Determined to succeed, she began to look for help.
Luckily, The Salvation Army was able to provide the help that she needed. At The Salvation Army’s afterschool program, the staff members worked closely with her, giving her the extra attention that she needed to comprehend the skills and concepts she had previously not understood. She participated in the program for two years and after receiving her high school diploma, went on to pursue an associate’s degree from a local college.
More than just educators, Diondra says that the instructor in the program were truly concerned about her success and often provided support in other ways as well. Sometimes they helped with difficult decisions. Sometimes they just listened as Diondra talked about her struggles.
“They were more than teachers,” she said. “They helped me with life decisions – they were always there for us.”
Today, Diondra works as a chiropractor’s office. She has enrolled in school to expand on her associate’s degree in order to advance her career. Ever determined, she also works part-time at a local department store in order to help pay for her education. She continues to thank The Salvation Army for the caring attention that she received as a student; it has helped her to succeed.
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.”
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.