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Community Events

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Changing the Coffee Culture

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Salvos Coffee works to decrease labor exploitation and increase sustainability.

By Faye Michelson – 

Imagine coffee cherries grown without fertilizers or pesticides in the rich volcanic soil of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) pristine Eastern Highlands and picked, pulped, washed and sorted by hand in remote villages, then dried in the sun for three days.

The Salvation Army works with coffee farmers and their families in this remote part of the world to ensure they receive a fair price for their harvest.

coffee culture 2“Coffee growers would walk for days with 30 kilograms [66 pounds] of coffee beans in bags on their backs to get to a roadside to sell, only to get ripped off,” said Luke Soper, business development manager for the PNG Territory. And so the Salvos Coffee program—initiated and developed in 2007 in PNG as a Community Advancement Reform Enhancement—assists 700 growers and their 3,500 family members in growing, harvesting and preparing beans for sale.

Soper’s job is to ensure the program is financially sustainable so that other aspects of The Salvation Army’s work with the farmers—such as health, hygiene, literacy, financial and agricultural education—can expand.

“Coffee growers who once would have had no other option but to sell their coffee for an unfair price at the roadside are now empowered,” Soper said. For instance, the program started a “passbook system” that releases profits to the growers when they want it until they have proper proof of identity or birth to open their first bank account.

Joseph Manase of the Kesawaka area wanted to become a pastor, but left school in fourth grade. When Salvos Coffee field officers went to his village they talked to him about resuming his education and showed him how to save money for school fees. He now attends high school with the money earned by his wife, who continues to work with Salvos Coffee in their village and also sends their children to school.

When the Ivoti people sold their coffee at a higher price than they expected they used the profit to buy roofing iron, coffee pulping machines and gardening tools. The Salvos Coffee team took them to a warehouse to buy the goods and helped arrange transportation of the equipment.

The program works through a cluster system centered around local Salvation Army churches in each participating village.

Community endorsement is vital for this project to succeed. We work to establish a rapport with the village headman and growers, because without that we can’t make headway.

“That’s very important; The Salvation Army is respected and trusted, and people understand we are there to help bring opportunity and fairness,” Soper said. “Community endorsement is vital for this project to succeed. We work to establish a rapport with the village headman and growers, because without that we can’t make headway.”

Salvos Coffee faces many community challenges, including domestic and family violence, so in addition to economics, the program also addresses resolving conflict and managing anger.

Soper divides his time between Sydney and PNG, a country that spans “tropical island to mountainous highlands.”

“One of the tough things, though, is living between a world of excess in Australia and extreme need in PNG,” he said. “We face many challenges—the ruggedness and the remoteness, and the cost of transportation.” Yet he said he finds reward in helping people in need. “It’s also important for me to be able to share with people in Australia—and my four young children—how well off we are and what we are doing in PNG to make a real and sustainable difference,” he said.

The Church Partnership Program provided funding to sustain Salvos Coffee for many years, and now the program must be self-sustaining. As Soper said, “Your purchase of our coffee helps fund a dedicated team in PNG to provide much-needed support services for remote, marginalized coffee growers and their families.”

See more at salvos.org.au/coffee

This post was originally featured in The New Frontier Chronicle.

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The Salvation Army Annual Report 2014

 

 

The Salvation Army Annual Report

“He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.”

This verse from the Book of Isaiah is the foundation for The Salvation Army’s 2013 Online Annual Report’s theme, “Open Arms”, now available here. Commissioner David Jeffery, The Salvation Army’s National Commander, had this verse come to mind saying, “It’s a sweet image, a beautiful reminder of the Lord’s gentleness in caring for the vulnerable”.

The Salvation Army strives to follow the Lord’s example of caring and opening our arms and our hearts to anyone in need. And we’re proud to report that, guided by God’s love and your compassion and support, The Salvation Army served 30 million Americans in 2013!

Throughout this last year and with the help of 3.5 million volunteers, The Salvation Army:
Served nearly 60 million meals to the hungry
Provided over 10 million nights of lodging to the homeless
Sent almost 200,000 low income and disadvantaged kids to summer camp
Counseled 180,000 men and women with drug and alcohol rehabilitation

Also featured in the annual report is an inspiring video of The Salvation Army’ s Angel Tree Program which helps provide nearly 1 million disadvantaged children across the United States.
As it truly takes an army, our services would not be possible without your help and support and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for furthering our mission to Do The Most Good!
The Salvation Army is here for you. We welcome all with open doors, open hearts, and open arms.

Learn more through our annual report about The Salvation Army’s programs and services utilized by those in need in 2013.

Visit salvationarmyannualreport.org to read the 2013 Online Annual Report.

Finding a Voice

Clara Kleinman helps run The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Spree in Santa MonicBy Jared McKiernan – 

Timely assistance from The Salvation Army in the 1930s fuels Clara Kleinman’s passion to give back today.
The biggest concern of most 8-year-old girls is how they might fashion their dolls, what to bring to the next sleepover or how to catch the attention of the cute boy in class.
When Clara Kleinman was that age, she was warding off gangsters. She was being teased for her religion, tormented for the way she spoke. And talking back never did her much good, because no one understood a word she said.

Kleinman now lives at The Salvation Army’s Silvercrest Residence in Santa Monica, Calif. She’s 87, and sharp. She’s not five-feet tall, but her posture grabs your attention. Her voice sparse, but when she speaks, you listen.

“There weren’t many Jews in our neighborhood; it was mostly black,” she said of the St. Louis slum she grew up in. “We were taunted because we were Jewish. The prejudice was unbelievable.”

Kleinman was born in 1926 the eighth of nine children on Biddle Street, a high-crime, desolate section of downtown St. Louis. Even a simple walk home from school could mean risking your life.

“I saw the worst of life,” she said. ”I saw knifings on the way home from school. I knew how to hide in the alleys.”
Kleinman’s father had a paralytic stroke when she was 5 years old. This left her mother, Yetta, as the household’s primary caretaker. While ruthless, as described by Kleinman, Yetta was always hospitable.

“She always told us never to feel sorry for ourselves because there was always someone worse off, and she was right,” she said. “I remember all of the people my mother took in when we barely had enough to eat, but she would never let anyone sleep in the streets or go hungry.”

Kleinman’s older siblings and eventually she herself, began working to contribute to the household income. It was either that, or go hungry.

To make matters worse, Kleinman was born with an abnormally small throat passage, which caused a severe speech impairment.

Bullies had their way.

“Not only did I live in the toughest area,” she said, “but talk about being teased. You could not understand one word I said. It was not that my speech was unclear. I could not get the words out…I fought every gang member. My brothers taught me how to hit the areas that hurt the most.”

Her brother Lou, especially, was like a guardian, quick to defend his younger sister to anyone. Lou once even slapped a schoolteacher in the face as payback for hitting his sister.

When Kleinman was 11, she got a measure of relief from the heckling. Her school sponsored speech therapy for her at Central Institute for the Deaf. Every day that year, she rode the bus from one end of St. Louis to the other to practice her speech.
“The classes were difficult,” she said, “but they gave me the chance to have a normal life.”

Over the next few years, she worked a combination of office jobs, later relocating to Michigan, then California. She married and had two children, though still maintaining two part-time positions. She became a proficient typist, clocking 225 words per minute, which helped her secure several jobs. While unglamorous, things were headed in a positive direction—until one day when she got a call about her brother Lou.

He was shot and killed by a group of gang members.

“I couldn’t eat,” she said. “I could not eat. We were very close.”

She wasn’t exaggerating. Disturbed by Lou’s death, she neglected her health and dropped all the way down to around 85 pounds.

“I looked in the mirror one day and said, ‘This is not what my brother would want.’ So I pulled myself together and accepted it for what it was.”

Though much of her childhood was marked by trial and injustice, Kleinman recalls each holiday season as the pinnacle. Every year, The Salvation Army rented out an auditorium to throw a Christmas party for all of the kids in the community. She and her siblings would go get their clothes and shoes for the school year.

“I remember how important the shoes were,” she said. “Shoes were one of the most important things because we had to walk quite a distance to go to school. And you had to remember to always get them big because you had to stuff them with newspaper so they would last all year.”

Her memory of The Salvation Army was simple––they served. For one day each year, her religion, her handicap, her family’s circumstances––none of it mattered.

“They never cared about your religion, or color of your skin. The way they gave, when they were handing out things, it was such a warm, personal feeling,” she said. “In those years, to take charity or welfare you really had to be ashamed. You tried not to talk about it. But when we went to these [Salvation Army] parties, it always impressed me how nice they were and how they always smiled. And it made you feel good.”

Kleinman worked well into her 80s, retiring just three years ago. After that, she finally settled down in her Silvercrest apartment—or so she thought.

“I heard them talking about The Salvation Army Christmas Spree. I said, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m going over there to see if I can volunteer,”’ she said. “All my life I had this dream. I always said if things ever changed, I would give back to The Salvation Army, because when my family needed them, they were there for us. Now, I’m giving back not just for myself, but for my whole family.”

Kleinman has served as treasurer for the Santa Monica Women’s Auxiliary for the past three years, planning fashion shows and Christmas Sprees like the ones she attended as a child.

Now widowed, Kleinman said she is grateful for the opportunity to give back, even at this stage in life. And while grinding is all she knows, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I really feel and I still feel that it’s up to us what we get out of life,” she said. “Not everyone has the same chances, but the minute you start feeling sorry for yourself, it’s over. I really think that you have to go through some suffering in life to appreciate the good things. I really am a very lucky person.”

-By Jared McKiernan
Post originally featured in The New Frontier Chronicle.

Overcoming obstacles

Contributed by Matt Wiegman of The Salvation Army Central Territory and originally featured in the Central Connection

When Elizabeth first came to The Salvation Army, she was losing hope. Just released from the hospital, she’d come home to discover her electricity had been disconnected due to nonpayment.   Her two children would soon return from her parents’ house four hours away, her husband was out of town with construction work, and the burdens of maintaining the household with inadequate resources and little guidance had caught up to her.

I thought she’d be an ideal candidate for Pathway of Hope. She met the program’s prerequisites and showed a desire to change her family’s circumstances and the aptitude to accomplish her goals. After hearing about the program, Elizabeth was enthusiastic to begin.

Many obstacles impeded her progress toward self-sufficiency. Her family of four—soon to be five—was living in a small one-bedroom apartment. She and her husband slept on the sofa, so the kids could share the only bed. Having grown accustomed to living without sufficient resources, she didn’t even recognize it as inadequate. With a recurring heart condition, she was not only underinsured but had lost her job on an industrial cleaning crew due to her inability to perform physical tasks. The loss of income meant she often missed meals which was especially troubling because of her pregnancy.

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Elizabeth and Major Stephen Kiger

Each week that we met, Elizabeth seemed willing to work hard and discuss her alternatives.  Circumstances she’d once considered a way of life quickly were labeled as obstacles, and a plan was developed to overcome each. A career counselor at WorkOne, a local unemployment office, gave her information on job openings that would align with her education and interests, as well as suit her physical limitations. Elizabeth visited the local Medicaid office, where she received aid for the duration of her pregnancy. She learned how to apply for food stamps, which The Salvation Army supplemented with food from our emergency pantry and Kroger gift cards.

Two months after enrolling in Pathway of Hope, Elizabeth was hired as a secretary at a welding company. The pay was more than she’d ever earned! If used wisely, it would sustain her family while her husband looked for consistent work. We set up a reasonable budget, and Elizabeth diligently noted expenses and was conscientious in spending. For the first time, she opened a savings account. She also pursued subsidized childcare.

A few months ago when Elizabeth came to my office for our weekly meeting I was struck by the difference in her demeanor. When I’d first met her, she’d seemed scared and resigned to failure. Now, she was confident and excited about the future. Having received an offer to work fulltime for a construction company in Louisville, Ky., her husband would have steady employment and still be able to come home each night. They’d recently signed a lease on a new apartment with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a much larger living area. It’s modest by all accounts but represents a significant change. Elizabeth has space to cook and beds for all family members. For the first time, she spoke of her “home.” When her son is born, he will have a proper living environment. He also will have a wonderful example of how hard work and the proper use of resources can lead to a fulfilling, happy life.

Col. Joe Posillico (right) and Maj John Brackenbury meet the Goodwill mascot at the grand opening.

Goodwill and Salvation Army Team Up to help Arizonans find jobs

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Col. Joe Posillico (right) and Maj John Brackenbury meet the Goodwill mascot at the grand opening.

Originally featured on Expect Change, The Salvation Army Western Territory’s Blog.

I’ve worked for The Salvation Army for fifteen years. Along the way my friends will sometimes ask, “so how are things at the Goodwill?” Sometimes they say, “so, what’s going on at the Red Cross?”

My reply is usually, “I’m sure they’re doing great things like meeting needs and changing lives, but I work for The Salvation Army.” Well, now I can answer that question about Goodwill wholeheartedly in the affirmative because I know first-hand!

We recently teamed up with Goodwill of Central Arizona to open a job resource center on our Salvation Army campus in Phoenix. This first-of-its-kind center features 11 computer workstations with access to Goodwill’s database of jobs, as well as a staff member to help job seekers with services including resume development and interview strategy.

How’s that for putting two great organizations together to care for people in need!?
The center is a three-minute walk from The Salvation Army’s family shelter and located in a neighborhood with one of the highest rates of poverty in Arizona.
We’re praying that job-seekers all over Phoenix will find it a convenient place to go to learn job skills and receive assistance with their search.

Here’s what AZCentral had to say about the great news (FYI: it starts with a brief ad):

“Thank you Goodwill of Central Arizona! We love what you do and are grateful for your help.”

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If you’d like to know more about what The Salvation Army does in Phoenix, please connect with them on Facebook:: If you’d like to make a financial gift to help The Salvation Army in the Phoenix area, please click here

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Haiti Four Years Later: Encouraged by Progress and Hopeful for the Future

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“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jer. 29:11 NIV)

As we look back on the four years since the earthquake, we are keenly aware of and thankful for the Jeremiah 29:11 plans God has for The Salvation Army and the people it serves.

There are no doubts that the quake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 was devastating; the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, more than one million people forced into shelters made of whatever could be salvaged, businesses and livelihoods lost and a nation trying to make sense of it. The Salvation Army was there; in the trenches, on the frontlines and not left untouched by the disaster. 8 million meals were served. 30,000 clinic visits were provided. Shelters were opened. Beds, cleaning kits, tarps, lights, and tents were distributed.

Following the devastation however, came a great opportunity to change the course of history for the Army and the country; to rebuild a stronger infrastructure with programs and institutions that address issues in an even more meaningful and sustainable way; to broaden its ministry.

haiti salvationarmyBecause of its longstanding presence in the country, the Army was well-positioned to help, along with its partners, in some of the neediest areas in and around the capitol providing some 20,000 displaced people with food, pastoral care and some medical care in addition to networking with other international organizations to provide basic needs for families and individuals who settled on the soccer field just next door to the Army’s Delmas 2 compound.

In  these four years, The Salvation Army in Haiti, joined by Salvation Army partners from around the world and other international donors, have made great strides not simply to help return communities to their pre-quake standard of living, but to create a new normal. The Army has worked to rebuild communities physically, emotionally and spiritually; transforming lives for lasting change.

Recovery & Development

haiti salvation armyFor 60 years, The Salvation Army has been a mainstay in the city of Port-au-Prince with the Delmas 2 compound, the headquarters and facilities site that was mostly destroyed in the quake. A new structure is in development which will include kindergarten, primary and secondary school buildings for College Verena, which is responsible for the education of more than 1,500 area children. A new corps building will soon seat 3,000, a social services building to house direct service programs and a new primary healthcare center to provide an updated facility for the self-supporting Delmas 2 clinic.

School infrastructure support includes the renovation and construction of some 25 schools damaged by the earthquake providing solid construction and reinforcement, adequate classroom space, latrines and water filtration systems at each location. To date, three new schools have been constructed, with four others in the works, four reservoirs constructed to capture water for filtration and the team is on track to finish the remaining school repairs in 2014.

Social and Emotional Supporthaiti the salvation armyMore than 1,000 children and adolescents in eight earthquake-affected communities were counseled and offered life-skills through social, cultural and sport activities in three weekly meetings. The Army is now working to include sexual education in its school curriculum at three pilot sights as well as introducing parenting school at that location with the hopes of expanding them throughout the division.

 

Community Development

Integrated family support focuses on permanent housing, vocational training, livelihood support and agriculture with the goal of giving the most vulnerable populations the training and tools to build a better future. This project is well underway with nearly 900 individuals and families benefiting. Some 112 students have graduated with vocational training in plumbing, tiling, electricity, building construction and auto mechanics with more than 380 additional enrolled. Some have been placed in internships and found paying jobs.

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A great deal has been accomplished with the help of so many. We’re excited to see what has yet to come as the remaining schools and water systems on the infrastructure list are finished, more Community Action Teams undertake small projects, homes are rebuilt, livelihoods are increased, training is received and God uses the Army to change lives.
To support service efforts in Haiti, please consider donating to The Salvation Army World Service Office at  https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/SAWSO. To learn more, visit http://salvationarmyhaiti.org/.
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Information contained in this article was provided by Kara Langford, Communications Officer at The Salvation Army Haiti Recovery & Development Office. 

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“I could never, ever imagine The Salvation Army turning away anyone…”

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This post was originally featured on The Salvation Army Western Territory’s blog, Expect Change and was contributed by Kathy Lovin of The Salvation Army Western Territory.

Ricky grew up in a family where there was love, but as a young gay man in the 80s he struggled with his identity. So he stole his parents’ credit cards to buy things he thought he needed to feel good.

When his parents reported the cards stolen, the police investigated the crime and arrested Ricky. His parents tried to drop the charges once they knew he was the guilty party but it was too late. He went to prison anyway.

While he was in prison his mom died. After he got out and began to reorder his life, his dad died. Then his boyfriend decided he couldn’t handle all the upset in Ricky’s life and the emotional baggage it created, so he left too.

Ricky’s answer to all of the despair in his life was to use the knot-tying skills he learned as a Boy Scout to hang himself. Thankfully, the knot broke and a well-timed “welfare check” by his parole officer moments later kept him from trying again.

His parole officer found drugs in the house, so he was off to prison again.

Find out the rest of Ricky’s amazing story about the healing power of Christ’s love and the outstretched hand of The Salvation Army. Click the white arrow to watch Ricky’s testimony video:

As you give this Christmas, you can be assured that The Salvation Army offers its love and service to anyone in need as long as we have the capacity to help.
Now Ricky is on the giving end of God’s love: he is the Assistant Resident Manager at our Adult Rehabilitation Center in Denver, Colorado.

He’s helping men who’ve struggled to get clean of drugs – and the criminal activity that often comes with it – to heal their bodies and minds, learn good work habits, and prepare themselves for what God has planned for the rest of their lives.

Remember that everything you give to or buy from a Salvation Army Family Store helps us care for people who need comprehensive, no-fee, residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Click on satruck.com for a Family Store location, Adult Rehabilitation Center or donation drop-off site.
Thank you!

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Selena Gomez Talks Online Red Kettle With Ryan Seacrest

24 hours after announcing her support of The Salvation Army’s 123rd Red Kettle Campaign with a performance at our Kick-Off show Thanksgiving Day, Selena Gomez went On-Air with Ryan Seacrest to promote her Online Red Kettle.

Click here to listen! 

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November 3: Selena Gomez with Salvation Army National Advisory Board Chairperson, Charlotte Jones Anderson (left) and Major Ron Busroe, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army.

You can join Selena Gomez’s Red Kettle Team by visiting http://www.onlineredkettle.org/selenagomez. In doing so, you could win the chance to virtually connect with Selena on a Google Hangout later in the season.

The Salvation Army Red Kettles have been an American tradition since 1891, helping raise financial support for critical Salvation Army programs and services year round.  This campaign allows you to host your own Red Kettle – online.

Over the years, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States – providing toys for kids, coats for the homeless, food for the hungry and countless social service programs year-round. You become a vital part of our Christmas efforts when you help those in need by hosting an Online Red Kettle and filling it with donations from family, friends and colleagues.
Click here to get started today.

Christmas Film, “Silver Bells” Highlights the Good Work of Salvation Army

Ready or not, Christmas is already in the air. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by a mound of Halloween candy and November will be on its way out.

But there’s plenty of time to get in the spirit and soak it all up!  Whip up some hot chocolate, snuggle up with the family and turn on Silver Bells, a Pure Flix Entertainment production that tells the touching story about a man and his journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Bruce Boxleitner plays an ambitious businessman who gets in a scuffle that gets him sentenced to community service — manning a red kettle and ringing bells for The Salvation Army for the rest of the Christmas season.

At first he finds this humiliating, and in his self-pity determines to be the world’s worst bell ringer, but as he encounters the people behind the kettle, his life — and especially his relationship with his son — is changed by something as simple as ringing a bell.
We’re delighted The Salvation Army plays a pivotal role throughout the film as the family volunteers with the organization in various ways. With a great cast including Bruce Boxleitner, Kevin Downes , and Antonio Fargas , Silver Bells is a heartwarming reminder to reflect on the true message of Christmas and to celebrate love, faith and hope.

Catch the nationwide broadcast on UPTV on Saturday, November 30. Or, check it out on DVD and Blu-Ray today.
Is it too early to say “Merry Christmas”?
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Visit https://www.facebook.com/PureFlix to learn more. You can also join in the conversation with #SilverBells on Twitter and Facebook