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,
Lieutenants Phillip and Sherrie Stokes
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.”
Most high school students aren’t thinking about how they can make an impact on the world. There are a lot of other things that compete for their attention. For high school senior Naomi, however, having a positive impact is very important. Her story begins with The Salvation Army.
“I got involved with The Salvation Army because I used to spend a lot of time with my cousins and they were members of The Salvation Army. I would come spend the night with them and would go to church with them. I loved it. It actually involved the kids and that’s what I liked about it.”
As a young child, Naomi quickly became involved with many of the programs offered at The Salvation Army, designed to teach spiritual values, and offer godly advice from mentors. She thrived in these programs but was most excited to have the opportunity to go to summer camp.
“I was really excited. It was just a dream for me to come to camp. I had so much fun. I met new people. I still remember my counselor – it was Miss Michelle. She was great. I really really enjoyed it and every year I came back to camp! I wanted to come back and work at camp because I felt God calling me to work wanted to give the children the opportunity to experience what I experienced when I was a camper.”
While attending one of The Salvation Army’s camping programs, Naomi participated in activities that invited her to share in the experiences of children who live in poverty. It inspired her to make a difference and she quickly invited her church community to get involved.
“Naomi’s Child is a fundraiser that I started for a kid in Ecuador. Her name is Brittney Gonzalez. She lives in poverty. Me and my church - we help her through the Salvation Army. It was just a thought at first but then I thought, ‘No, I need to!’. I went to talk to my officers and they found the girl. At first it was just me, but then I involved my church family and they started helping.”
Naomi has learned about the power of generosity and the positive impact that an individual can have. Through her faith in God and the support of her church family at The Salvation Army, Naomi has learned an important and lasting lesson that will help her have an impact on the world for years to come.
“Helping someone… it just feels good!”
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.