The Salvation Army of Wake County: 2017 Year In Review

Since 1887, The Salvation Army of Wake County has serviced the citizens of Wake County. Now in its 131st year of existence, SAWC continues to remain at the forefront in providing assistance to those in need.

The Salvation Army of Wake County does quite a few fundraisers each year and the most FUNdraiser had to be the MOST Amazing Race Raleigh. The 6th annual event took place on August 26 at popular locations throughout downtown Raleigh. The scavenger-hunt-like race is patterned after the TV show “The Amazing Race” and featured teams of two, completing mental and physical challenges at locations throughout downtown Raleigh.

The goal of MAR was to raise $40,000 for The Salvation Army of Wake County Community Center and that goal was well exceeded. The Starchitects were the winners of the 2017 edition of MAR. The success of the event would not have been possible if not for our sponsors, volunteers and of course the participants.

The week before MAR, The Salvation Army of Wake County partnered with The John Wall Family Foundation’s Back to School Field Day event at the Community Center. Two hundred and fifty children received book bags filled with school supplies personally from Wall, a four-time NBA All-Star and Raleigh native. This was the JWFF’s fourth annual event, but the first year the event was held in conjunction with SAWC.

“It’s great, it’s an honor,” said Wall at the time of the event, which also takes place in Washington, DC. “A lot of people give back but don’t give their time also. The kids get to see you and you interact with them and it puts smiles on their faces. That’s the most important thing because I never had that growing up.

“God put me in a situation where I’m able to play the game that I love on the highest level and am able to take care of my family and am able to take care of other families and make those people a part of my family through my foundation.”

This was one of three events that The Salvation Army of Wake County and John Wall Family Foundation teamed up for, as on November 18, JWFF held a turkey giveaway at the Community Center, and served dinner to the families at The Salvation Army’s Judy D. Zelnak Center of Hope the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Going back to fundraising SAWC kicked off its annual ITAA campaign on Saturday, August 26, after MOST Amazing Race. Ten teams made up of Advisory Board Members were responsible for raising $40,000.00 each. We have a wonderful Advisory Board as we exceeded our $400,000.00 goal. A big thank you not only to the teams but also to SAWC development director Tara Shepherd-Bowdel and advisory board development leader John Matthews for their leadership in this effort.

For the last several years, The Salvation Army of Wake County has used the old Winn-Dixie building in Raleigh as its Christmas and Toy Distribution Center, but the building was sold and SAWC was forced to find a new location.

July passed. August passed. September passed. Finally, God made it so that SAWC was able to obtain the old Sears building which gave SAWC more space than it needed for its Christmas Center and toy distribution.

Toy Distribution took place December 19-21. SAWC area commander Major Stephen Long said the operation ran as smooth as he has ever seen, since he has been working with the Army for in excess of 40 years. That is in part because of businesses like Triangle Spokes, Capital City Clauses and others, which bought, donated and supplied toys to be given away to children.

There were over 600 volunteers who participated and aided greatly in the flow of the distribution. Everyday, there was a tremendous amount of joy on the face of the parents of the children, staff, volunteers and business who were involved. One of the most exciting events was the spin the wheel event, where a parent had a chance to win a bike for their child. Even if they didn’t win a bike, they won something.

On Wednesday, December 20, the Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, came by and brought toys to the Christmas Center. Governor Cooper has a very busy schedule and there are Salvation Army’s all across the state, but he chose to come to our Christmas Center.

There were so many other events that happened in 2017. There was the back to school night event for the children at the Center of Hope where they received haircuts, hairdos, clothing, and school supplies. There was Project CATCH’s (Community Action Targeting Children who are Homeless) first-ever Early Childhood Education and Resource Fall Festival, which brought families experiencing homelessness access to childcare and early intervention resources for their children in one location. Donated items such as clothing, books and baby items were made available to attendees as well.

There was the Harvest Carnival at the Community Center. Even the employees of SAWC had fun with a tailgate party in November and the Christmas party in December.

Perhaps the event that had the most impact in 2017 was Hurricane Irma. And while the storm didn’t greatly impact Wake County, The Salvation Army of Wake County sent four staff members to Florida, as part of The Salvation Army’s North and South Carolinas divisions, to help those affected by Irma. Warehouse manager William Hunter, head cook Michelle Isidore, Community Center director Sarah Ruiz, and Family Store manager Jean Temple drove the SAWC canteen and another vehicle down to Florida where they mostly spent time servicing people near Jacksonville. The group was gone for two weeks and received a lot of praise from those in charge on the ground in Florida.

These are just a few examples of the great and many events that took place at The Salvation Army of Wake County in 2017. As SAWC continues to service the citizens of Wake County in 2018, you are a huge part of this effort.

Please continue to make your monetary donation and your donation of food and clothing at the Center of Hope. Also consider volunteering your time as SAWC is always in need of volunteers.

We hope you had as blessed a 2017 as we had and we look forward to working with you in 2018.

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