Salvation Army Volunteers Awarded Florida Governor's Champion of Service

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services team is honored to recognize volunteers, Gene Kelley and Steve Rocca,  who have both been awarded the Governor Scott and Volunteer Florida’s Champion of Service Award.   The Champion of Service Award was established in 2013 by Volunteer Florida to honor individuals and groups for their outstanding efforts in volunteerism and service. 

Gene Kelley, volunteer with the Tallahassee Corps since 1985, deployed to Texas following Hurricane Harvey and upon return, stepped up to serve his own community for Hurricane Irma.  According to his Corps Officer, Lt. Ryan Meo, “Gene is the heart and soul of what The Salvation Army embodies- servant leadership and a willingness to think outside the box to help meet community needs.â€� 

Volunteer with the Orlando Area Command, Steve Rocca, was also presented with the Champion of Service award in October.  Following the Pulse shooting tragedy, Steve, who was the Advisory Board Chair at the time, discovered his passion for serving on a canteen.   “Deployed to both Houston during Hurricane Harvey and multiple locations in Florida during Hurricane Irma, we can always count on Steve to tell the story of the good work of The Salvation Armyâ€�  states Major Ted Morris, Orlando Area Commander. 

Awards were presented during a meeting at the Florida Cabinet by Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida Chief Executive Officer Vivian Myrtetus.  

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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The Salvation Army Serving Following Shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (November 6, 2017) – Officers and staff from The Salvation Army in San Antonio were deployed to provide emotional and physical support within hours of the tragic shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.  

The Salvation Army’s mobile kitchen arrived on the scene at around 5:30 PM and Officers spent time ministering to relatives as they waited on word about their family members. “We were able to give water and snacks but most importantly we listened to many of the families share stories about their missing families. We prayed with many of the families,â€� said Major Carolynn Webb, Associate Area Commander, The Salvation Army – San Antonio Metropolitan Area Command.

It is anticipated that The Salvation Army will continue to provide emotional and spiritual care to the community, serving three meals a day to first responders at the scene for at least the next 72 hours. Several Salvation Army Officers are available to speak with and pray with family members.

“We have all been shaken by the tragic events of Sunday afternoon in the beautiful community of Sutherland Springs,� said Lt. Colonel Ronnie Raymer, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in Texas. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this atrocity and especially those who have lost loved ones and have injured family members. The Salvation Army will remain in the community providing nourishment, with listening ears and praying hearts, for as long as we are requested to serve.�

Emotional and spiritual care is a unique aspect of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, with trained personnel available to speak to and pray with disaster survivors and first responders in times of crisis and stress.

For up to date information on The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Salvation Army Welcomes Hurricane Maria Evacuees to Florida

Tampa, FL – Salvation Army volunteers and case managers are providing services as Puerto Rico evacuees arrive at airports in Florida.  Governor Rick Scott signed a “Host State Agreementâ€� to establish Disaster Relief Centers where State agencies and non-governmental organizations partner together to provide resources as available. 

At the Miami International Airport Disaster Relief Center, Chaplain Raymond Boyd leads The Salvation Army team that has seen as many as three hundred individuals a day.  Many of the families that have arrived have one set of clothing and are not sure how they will get additional items for their children.  Chaplain Boyd is distributing items like food boxes, toiletries and feminine hygiene products.

“Some evacuees have family to join in Florida, but others aren’t sure what their next steps will be.â€�  said Chaplain Boyd.  “Our goal is to connect them with community services across Miami-Dade and make sure that they have a place to go.  In a few cases we have provided a place to stay in our family shelter for a night or two while they connect with resources on the ground.â€�

At the Orlando International Airport, The Salvation Army is distributing 500 meal kits, hygiene packages and baby supply packs per week.  For families that have no additional clothing items as a result of Hurricane Maria, The Salvation Army is distributing vouchers to Salvation Army Family Stores in the Orlando area.  Families with young children are receiving financial assistance to help get a change of clothes and clean under garments. 

“We are seeing children in clothing that they have been wearing for days,â€�  said Major Ted Morris, Area Commander for The Salvation Army, Orlando Florida.  “We spend a few minutes talking to the family making sure they have basic food necessities covered and a little money for needed clothing.â€�

To date, The Salvation Army Florida Division has distributed more than 4,600 food and hygiene kits and has arranged and shipped 10 tractor-trailer loads of supplies of water, baby supplies and hygiene kits to Salvation Army teams on the ground in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army continues to help families across Florida recover from Hurricane Irma.  As of October 18, The Salvation Army has distributed more than $4.2 million in aid to Irma-affected Floridians.  To continue meeting the needs across southwest Florida, The Salvation Army is setting up Disaster Assistance Centers in Ft. Myers and Naples.  These centers will help by providing financial assistance and distribution of donated supplies.  Case managers will help Hurricane Irma survivors navigate local, state and federal resources available to rebuild homes and families across south Florida.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Mission Happens Outside Church Walls in Dallas

Dallas, Texas (October 11, 2017) – In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Warehouse in Arlington is serving as the hub for all donations supporting the Army’s on-going relief work. As contributions continue to come in and flow out, man power is needed to help sort through donations.

Crossroads Christian Church in Grand Prairie, TX embraced this opportunity by serving those affected by the storm. CCC believes in having the whole family involved in missions in their hometown. During their annual Day of Service 1,500 – 2,000 members head out to serve their community in a wide range of volunteer activities.

Around 200 volunteers gathered at the Arlington warehouse to complete the task of building clean-up kits to be distributed to Hurricane Harvey survivors. Donations are first gathered into large categories such as Clorox, scrub brushes, spray bottles, cloths, rubber gloves, cleaning sponges and more. Each product is then assembled into individual buckets, which are then sealed and staged for distribution.  

Amongst the numerous volunteers, CCC member, Teresa Washington and her family serve annually. “At Crossroads Christian Church, it’s important for our congregation to go to church, worship together and be in unity. We are always informed that once we leave our church walls, mission happens,”� she said. “Every year we get the opportunity to go out and serve our community. The Salvation Army is definitely high on our list and it’s a priority for us to get out and partner with entities and agencies that love serving those that are in need.”�

Through the adversity Hurricane Harvey has caused, The Salvation Army is thankful for the dedicated and committed volunteers, and the generosity of both in-kind and financial donors who have entrusted us with their donations. However, the need for volunteers at the warehouse in Arlington is ongoing. Individuals and groups are needed to help sort donations with available shifts ranging from two hours to full-day opportunities. The warehouse is open from 8 AM-4 PM, Monday-Saturday. This is a great opportunity for a workplace, civic group, or church to serve those affected by Hurricane Harvey.  For more information please contact Clay Steelman at [email protected]

As of October 11, The Salvation Army has served 905,998 meals, 965,135 snacks, and 978,935 drinks to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

For the latest information please go to www.disaster.salvationarmy.org and watch for regular updates on our social media pages at www.facebook.com/salvationarmytexas/ and www.twitter.com/salarmytx. To access photo and video resources related to The Salvation Army Hurricane Harvey relief efforts please go to www.salvationarmysouth.org/harvey.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Holiday Beach Strong

Holiday Beach, Texas (October 10, 2017) – Amidst the street after street lined with debris and destruction in Holiday Beach, hangs emblems of comfort: spray painted signs reminiscent of the Bayfront community’s scenery, displaying the words, “Holiday Beach Strong”�.

“I wanted the signs to remind people that despite the devastation, the community will come together, remain hopeful, and rebuild,”� said Analisa Kennedy, potter and photographer. “We are static but we are still here.”�

Analisa and her husband celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary in their Holiday Beach house only a week before Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas. When Analisa returned to her neighborhood, after evacuating for several days, she found merely a skeleton of her home still standing. The storm had stripped away the roof and walls of the house and their belongings lay broken, soaked, and ruined on the ground. One item that remained intact in the rubble was the families leather bound bible.

The Salvation Army has been comforting Holiday Beach residents by providing prepared meals, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care each day.

“The Salvation Army has been a God send! In addition to bringing much needed food, they’ve been making us laugh and there’s not a lot of laughter around here anymore,”� said Analisa. “And you have to have humor because if you don’t, you’ll cry a lot.”�

As of October 10, The Salvation Army has served 905,946 meals, 965,060 snacks, and 978,858 drinks to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“I cannot tell you how much those meals meant to our community,”� said Analisa.

As a token of her appreciation for the assistance that she received following Hurricane Harvey, Analisa intends to volunteer her time as a bell ringer this holiday season. She is excited to support The Salvation Army’s initiatives to serve other people in need.

“Salvation Army workers from all over the country were there for us and we want to be there for them.”�

You can support The Salvation Army’s ongoing disaster relief work, by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or text STORM to 51555.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Shirts and Salvation for Holiday Beach Survivors

Holiday Beach, Texas (October 10, 2017) – “We thought there would be thousands of people helping in Texas and there really wasn’t, but The Salvation Army was there,”� said Thomas Billmeyer.

After Hurricane Harvey ravaged the small coastal community of Holiday Beach, Thomas and his two colleagues drove 18 hours to Texas, from Iowa, to help out. He and his friends worked for several days to rebuild a Holiday Beach resident’s roof that was destroyed in the storm.

During the five days that Thomas spent in Texas, he became acquainted with The Salvation Army’s disaster relief personnel that were providing hot meals, hydration, and hope to survivors in Holiday Beach.

Thomas donated 30 cases of water to The Salvation Army to be distributed as part of the relief efforts. He is also the founder and CEO of Polární­ clothing, a company which supports the relocation and rehabilitation of endangered animals. Thomas also donated 100 items of clothing from the brand.

“Supporting The Salvation Army was a touching, heart-warming, and eye-opening experience,”� said Thomas.

Like Thomas, The Salvation Army goes the extra mile for those affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey. As of October 10, The Salvation Army has served 905,946 meals, 965,060 snacks, and 978,858 drinks to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

You can support The Salvation Army’s ongoing disaster relief work, by making a financial donation at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or text STORM to 51555.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Equipment Moved to Higher Ground, Sunday Services Cancelled Along the Gulf Coast

Jackson, MS – As Tropical Storm Nate moves into the Gulf of Mexico, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is ready should their help be needed. Coastal locations in Mobile and Dothan, Alabama, Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi, and in New Orleans have their equipment in safe locations, plus all have cancelled Sunday services for this weekend.

“Water and food is ready to go,” said Major Tom Richmond, Coastal Alabama Command located in Mobile. “So are our personnel if we are called to respond.”

Sunday school classes and services will not be held in order to keep everyone safe and off the roads with Nate predicted to make landfall early Sunday morning. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Command will close its Family Stores and the Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center this weekend in Biloxi.

“A lot of our employees and residents are more sensitive to these storms when they head our way having lived through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, so we just think it’s better they stay home and prepare for Nate,” said Major Gary Sturdivant, Mississippi Gulf Coast Command.

The Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi has 25 mobile feeding vehicles ready to roll each with the capability to feed one thousand meals per day.

“All personnel and equipment have been recalled from Texas and Florida to make sure this three state Division is taken care of,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency/Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We are tired from serving after Harvey and Irma, but we know the Lord gives us strength to meet need wherever it may be.”

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

Salvation Army Provides Bilingual Assistance for Irma Survivors

Bonita Springs, FL – Salvation Army Officer, Major Doris Lawrence, is using her bilingual skills to assist families coming into The Salvation Army Bonita Springs Service Center. A lady with her children came in tears and said she had tried calling FEMA several times before coming to The Salvation Army.  She explained that her English was not good enough to communicate with the operator and she became frustrated with working long days cleaning her home with little to no help.   Major Lawrence, who provides emotional and spiritual care, called FEMA and within minutes – set up an appointment at their office to speak to a representative. 

“Bilingual volunteers are needed in this area,” said Major Lawrence.  “We are seeing several Irma survivors coming to the office in need of FEMA assistance and unable to communicate their needs.”  

Every day for a week, Major Lawrence assisted between five to ten Spanish speaking families with assistance.  She has coordinated FEMA to come meet with the families at The Salvation Army center, simply because the families cannot get to their homes due to the overwhelming amount of standing water still in their neighborhoods.  Major Lawrence sat and talked with families for hours about their ordeal and their loss.  She lifted an emotional barrier by providing sympathy and understanding in a desperate time of need.

Major Lawrence, expressed her concerns about the Spanish speaking victims and their long-term recovery service needs in their area.  She was thankful for the Spanish speaking staff and volunteers, who continue to work tirelessly in this community.  Thanks to the bilingual skills of one Salvation Army Officer, many are finding hope with love and compassion.

The Salvation Army in Ft. Myers has prepared and distributed 174,844 meals, drinks and snacks; provided 9,005 cleaning supplies; 5,378 hygiene kits; 6,450 food boxes; 157,756 infant supply boxes; 3,293 victims with emotional and spiritual care; and 1,930 volunteers gave 181,542 hours of service.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Two Girls and a Truck

Naples, Florida – Mostly every part of Collier County, which Florida’s largest county, is renowned for its beautiful staple communities. A combination of bustling streets and quiet and quaint roads.

All along these scenic roads are all too familiar sights as well – people in despair. Prior to Hurricane Irma, the county was already in a housing and hunger crisis; in the aftermath, it is a catastrophe.

In the far lanes of these roads you’ll hear beeping and lights flashing from a little red and white mobile canteen, also known as a mobile feeding unit.  In the truck are two of the most dedicated women on the front lines – Captain’s Linnea Forney and Bersabé Vera. The Captains who are also Corps officers, along with a handful of their colleagues, are from the Greater Chicagoland area which was deployed to The Salvation Army in Naples to assist with hurricane relief efforts.

From Naples to Immokalee and beyond, support from The Salvation Army in Collier County will remain steadfast and in the community long after the flood waters recede.  While the Captains won’t be the ones personally beeping away to locals, the mission and ministry of the Army will be hard at work.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Salvation Army ALM units on standby with strengthening, predicted track of Nate

Jackson, MS – As tropical depression 16 strengthened into Tropical Storm Nate Thursday, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is placing all units within the three-state division on standby. Officials have also recalled equipment and personnel from disaster assignments in other states as Nate is forecast to make landfall Sunday.

“Our officers, staff, volunteers, and equipment have served residents in other areas with live and kindness in their time of need,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency/Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “Now with Nate, we need them.

Nate is the third storm to impact the Southeast in the last two months following Harvey and Irma. Local Salvation Army Commands and Corps are prepping for response should the need arise by contacting local and county emergency officials and stocking mobile feeding units or canteens with meals, water, and snacks.

“We are ready for whatever Nate may bring,” said Major Gary Sturdivant, Mississippi Gulf Coast Command. “I spoke with local officials, and they know we are ready to serve food and drinks, plus provide emotional and spiritual care to those who may be affected.”

Even with several officers, staff and volunteers having previously served in Texas and Florida, teams and equipment are ready to move in once the storm moves through.

“As a precaution, we are moving our equipment to higher ground, so we are prepared if needed,” said Major Ernest Hull, New Orleans command. “The last few weeks were extremely busy, but our job is serve where we are needed the most. If there is damage or flooding, The Salvation Army will be there to help.”

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org 

Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY 

Mail Checks to

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301   

 Please designate “Hurricane 2017” on all checks. 

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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