monsoon myanmar

Monsoon causes Nationwide Flooding Crisis in Myanmar

monsoon myanmarSince Myanmar’s monsoon season commenced in early June, almost 1 million individuals have been affected by widespread flooding – compounded by Cyclone Komen –  in 12 of the 14 states throughout the nation. Thought to be the worst flooding in years, aproximately one hundred people have died and 1.2 million acres of rice fields have been destroyed.

The Salvation Army is working alongside authorities and nongovernment organizations (NGO) to provide relief to the affected communities in the form of meals, water, and shelter. Infrastructure remains point of concern as roads and bridges have been destroyed, and in some instances, swept away by the flooding. Many Salvation Army buildings and amenities are housing those that have been displaced  from their homes. Long-term relief efforts will revolve around funding and redevelopment of homes, bogs, and wells.

With a one hundred-year presence in Myanmar, The Salvation Army will continue serving these communities long after the catastrophe is over.

The Salvation Army depends upon financial donations to fulfill the distinctive, urgent needs of communities in disaster, such as those within Myanmar. To help worldwide disaster relief efforts of The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), please go tohttps://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/SAWSO and select “Disaster Relief & Reconstruction”.

About The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO)

SAWSO is committed to working hand-in-hand with local communities to help people who face challenges every day in countries around the globe. Created in 1977 as an independent 501(c) (3) to support the ministry of The Salvation Army, SAWSO has been strengthening global communities in need for nearly 38 years. SAWSO supports the Army’s impressive global footprint in 127 countries, developing long-term community-driven solutions to issues in the areas of:

· Community Health & HIV Prevention
· Livelihood & Empowerment 
· Anti-human Trafficking
· Disaster Relief & Recovery
· Education

To learn more, go to www.SAWSO.org.

The Salvation Army is committed to utilize philanthropic gifts in the manner donors desire. Occasionally, conditions in the field may alter relief activities. If this occurs, The Salvation Army will redirect funds to our International relief efforts in the area.

producemain

Fresh produce for everyone

produceFree Fresh Produce

Fresh, regionally grown produce is accessible in the following areas; Parry Sound Friendship Centre, Harvest Share Food Bank, Esprit Place Family Resource Centre, Salvation Army Food Bank and District Social Services Administration Board thanks to the Parry Sound Community Garden growers.

Twenty per cent of all produce grown within the 5 local gardens are distributed to those 5 meals suppliers. Donation bins are checked each Monday, Wednesday and Friday and delivered to these places for individuals to enjoy wholesome, scrumptious, natural greens.

Neighborhood cultivators, with the assistance of group partners like Camp George members, preserve the gardens properly maintained throughout the summer time so gardeners can access their plots easily, benefit from the fruits of their labour and share their harvest with others.

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Salvation Army sees rise in clients utilizing its services

Salvation Army sees rise in clients utilizing its servicesFernando Mena sat at a cafeteria table consuming a hot dog, chili and potato chips.

The 25-yr-old who stated he lives in the woods began going to The Salvation Army 3 times a day for meals after recently quitting his job cleaning at a fast-food restaurant. Mena cited well being issues as the rationale behind quitting his job and stated he’s in search of temp jobs.

At one other table, Artherine Booth, seventy five, sat with a few buddies. Ms. Booth moved in to The Salvation Army ladies’s shelter in June after having to leave her previous residence.

She is planning to move into the Catherine Booth Gardens of Tyler, one of two residential facilities that The Salvation Army operates for low-income and senior citizens via a federal government contract.

Though Disa Brown has a house she shares together with her fiancé and eighty three-yr-old father, she eats lunch at The Salvation Army two to 5 times every week, one thing she’s done off and on for the past 4 years.

“It simply is significant, because Tyler isn’t a large metropolis, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of assistance for us, so for this to be right here to feed us three meals a day, it means so much to lots of people who don’t have,” stated Ms. Brown, 36, who described herself as a homemaker and self-employed. “You by no means know when your life can turn around and you don’t have anything.”

These individuals are amongst a rising number of East Texas residents who’re going to The Salvation Army for meals.

This summer, the nonprofit has seen a 40% increase, from 5,000 to 7,000, in weekly meals served.

In addition, about 10% of the 127 shelter residents are within the facility due to climate.

The nonprofit has a 200-bed facility and further housing area for 250 cots for emergency situations. Water and cooling stations for short-term use can also be found.

Director of Development Cindy Bell mentioned, because the Salvation Army doesn’t survey their shoppers, they can’t formally attribute the rise to one thing in particular.

However anecdotally, they stated the summer season does create greater pressure on folks, as a result of rising utility cost, and people must make harder decisions about the way to spend their cash.

“I have to decide, ‘do I buy meals for my household or the medication that I need?” Ms. Bell mentioned.

Lindsey Galabeas, The Salvation Army’s community and public relations coordinator, mentioned when individuals already live paycheck to paycheck, any increase in expenses, makes it tougher.

For the organization, the challenge comes as a result of, despite the fact that the individuals utilizing its services are growing, donations are declining as they usually do throughout the summer season.

“Lots of people consider us as a Christmas group,” Ms. Galabeas stated. The fact is the group is largely active throughout  the year.

The nonprofit’s services include men’s, women’s and family shelters, free daily meals, a residential drug rehabilitation program, rent and utility assistance, emergency disaster services and afterschool programs.

The agency is seeking donations to help fund its programs, which is about $four million for the shelters, social services and administration buildings.

Ms. Bell stated the company has a lean budget, and 87 cents of each $1 donated goes to services.

Twitter: @TMTEmily

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HOW TO GIVE

The Salvation Army of Tyler is in need of monetary donations to help fund the growing number of clients utilizing its services. For more details about The Salvation Army or to donate, go to www.salvationarmytexas.org/tyler , stop by the office at 633 N. Broadway Ave. in Tyler, or call 903-592-4361.

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DINING AT THE SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army serves three meals a day Sunday through Friday and two meals a day on Saturday. These free meals are open to the general public. Serving times are as follows:

Monday-Friday

Breakfast: 7 to 7:45 a.m.

Lunch: 12 to 12:45 p.m.

Dinner: 4:30 to 5 p.m.

Saturday

Brunch: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Dinner: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Sunday

Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m.

Lunch: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Dinner: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

bike across america

Bike across America 2 end hunger

bike across america 2 end hunger

SOUTH BEND – One of the hundreds of bikers out there today had an especially long trip.

This is Martin Cooper from the Salvation Army. His ride started all the way in  Medford, Oregon.

That’s more than two-thousand miles away and he is riding across the country to raise money and awareness to help end children’s hunger.

“I’ve been thinking about it for four or five years,” he said. “I just thought, when I retire, there has to be some way that I can help people. And you know, I don’t need to just go out and bug everybody in the community, so I thought I would ride across America.”

He plans to ride all the way to Washington DC – that will be a trip of 28-hundred miles.

He says he actually didn’t know about the Bike the Bend today. He was just planning to stop by the Kroc Center and he saw it on his way in.

Bike Across America 2 end Hunger

You can find more information about Martin over at his website on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/BikeAcrossAmerica2EndHunger

toarmina-salvation-army

Toarminas Pizza delivers 1,000 pizzas!

toarmina's-pizza-salvation-army

Toarminas Pizza delivers 1,000 pizzas!

Toarmina’s Pizza donated and delivered 1,000 pizzas to a number of Salvation Army Corps within the Downriver area.

The pizzas, valued at $10,000, are being made available to the Salvation Army as a fundraising instrument with pizza sales to Salvation Army supporters or as provisions to Salvation Army service customers.

Area Salvation Army’s that received the donation include Allen Park, Belleville, Lincoln Park, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor and Trenton.

“For 28 years, no matter our success, we’ve never forgotten those that make our communities safer and more livable,” Lou Toarmina, president of Toarmina’s Pizza, stated. “The Salvation Army is however one of many organizations we admire and help. Their work makes the lives of those that need them an incredible deal more helpful and safe.”

Fresh from donating $500 to the American Red Cross, Southeast Michigan Chapter last month, Toarmina mentioned the dedication of his firm and its individual proprietor-operators to Detroit and its neighbors is not going to stop.

The truth is, Toarmina looks forward to growing the number of shops – from its present 15 – all through Michigan over the following three years, each constructed with sturdy roots in each neighborhood that it serves.

liz murray

Harvard graduate born into poverty and homeless as a teen shares her story

liz murrayWhen Liz Murray overcame homelessness to graduate from Harvard University, people called her a bootstrapper and lauded her hard work.

But hard work doesn’t tell the whole story, said Murray, the featured speaker at today’s D.J.’s Hero Awards luncheon sponsored by the Salvation Army.

There has to be a bridge — someone or something offering help and encouragement, she said. That could be a committed social worker, a friendly stranger, a scholarship fund.

“When you have that, an introduction to a person who can help you, it’s a bridge that turns hard work into opportunity,” she said.

In an interview Monday, Murray said it’s up to the community to be that bridge: “Nobody is off the hook.”

She said today’s Salvation Army event is part of the solution. Eight high school seniors each will receive a $10,000 scholarship at the luncheon. The awards are named after D.J. Sokol, the son of David and Peggy Sokol, who contributed to his school and community despite battling cancer. He died in 1999 at age 18.

Murray said she had lots of help and inspiration along her path. She went from being a homeless teen who missed school 75 percent of the time to making up lost courses in two years and winning a New York Times scholarship to the Ivy League school.

She was born in grinding poverty to drug-addicted parents, but she never was angry at them. Instead, she viewed the addiction as a terrible thing that happened to the family, which included a sister.

“I had an instinct for the fact that they were sick,” she said. “People can’t give what they don’t have.”

Despite that, they gave her plenty. She was grateful she grew up with two parents who showed her an abundance of love. With regular trips to the public library, her dad — who had two college degrees — planted the idea that education was a way out. Her mom taught her to dream when she shared her own dreams with her daughter at night.

In a roundabout way, they taught her to be independent. “I never expected people to do things, because no one did,” Murray said.

At age 13 she ended up in a difficult group home when her mom was hospitalized with end-stage AIDS. Dad was in a homeless shelter, and her sister lived with friends. By 15, she was homeless herself.

Her mom’s dreams of becoming sober and owning a home died when AIDS claimed her life. Murray took that as a signal that she should get serious about school to preserve her own dreams. She graduated from the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Manhattan despite a still-precarious living situation.

Strangers who read her story in the Times showed up to help: bringing brownies, cards, a homemade quilt. One woman drove from New Jersey each week to do her laundry.

Now, she said, she tries to do the same for teens in similar situations. She works with youths from Covenant House, the largest organization for homeless teens in the country. She looks for ways to introduce them to people who want to help with jobs, internships and other aid.

“I love to see people’s dreams come true,” she said.

She turned that coaching into a full-time business, but recently stepped back to have a family and pursue a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University.

She’ll share her story with the 1,100 people expected for today’s luncheon at the CenturyLink Center. She finds inspiration in the stories of each winner in the award’s 15-year history. They all have much to contribute, she said.

It’s up to everyone to help more young people figure that out, she said.

“One thing I hear people say constantly, when they’re talking about the ills of the world, is that someone needs to do something — ‘they’ need to do something. I ask: Do you realize there’s no ‘they?’ ”

EP-150409710

Salvation Army fresh food initiative providing Weekly Fresh fruits & vegetables

Fresh Food Initiative.HILLSDALE — On a dreary, blustery and cold Tuesday morning, Hillsdale County residents lined up outside of the Hillsdale Salvation Army to receive fresh food, part of the organizations Fresh Food Initiative.

The initiative, which began in June of 2012, provides those residents in need with a box of fresh food, breads and a dessert.

Sue LeFevre, a Salvation Army employee, said they don’t know week to week what will be on the truck until it arrives each Tuesday morning.
The fresh food initiative gives residents a healthy food option.

“For those residents who are looking for options in cooking the fresh food, we are more than happy to help with recipes,” said Kathy Stump, Salvation Army administrative assistant.

The Salvation Army pays a $300 delivery fee a week from the Food Bank of South Central Michigan for the food, which will feed around 250 families.
Volunteers from the Hope House in Jonesville help the Salvation Army staff pack boxes and bag vegetables on a weekly basis.

During the month of March, 30 unduplicated volunteers contributed 217 hours of service.

Tuesday morning Michele Dropulich and LeAnn Voigtritter, volunteers from the Hope House, were busy packing bags with fresh green beans to be added to the boxes.
“I’ve been on both sides of the line,” Dropulich said. “It feels good to give back with a smile — this is a way I can give back.”

“The house has given me an opportunity. It feels good to be able to pay it forward,” she added.

Food distribution is from 9:30-11:30 a.m. every Tuesday.

Stump said it is open to anyone that is in need of food, no questions asked.

She said lately they have been averaging around 150 families a week.

The remaining food is distributed to other food banks around Hillsdale County.

She said the food has to be distributed fairly quickly, because it is close to its expiration date when it is received.

During the month of March, 604 families or 1,709 individuals were assisted, 372 of which were children. The wholesale value of the food distributed was $48,690.59. The Salvation Army paid $1,200 for the food.

The Salvation Army also offers a free lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The emergency food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
By Andy Barrand

Lubbock Salvation Army helps homeless

Lubbock Salvation Army assists the homeless

Lubbock Salvation Army helps homelessEven with the spring semester coming to an end, Lubbock’s morning breeze and nightly cool temperatures have remained constant. For Lubbock’s homeless population, this often means long, cold nights.

With the help of organizations and volunteers like those in the Salvation Army, individuals are able to bring warmth and aid to those in need, especially during extremely cold conditions.

“We provide a couple of different services to the lower-income community,” Shannon Sudduth, the community relations and development coordinator at the Lubbock Salvation Army, said.

Sudduth has worked actively toward helping the homeless community, she said. Sudduth graduated LCU with a major in organizational communications and is currently working toward her graduate degree at Tech in mass communications. Salvation Army has an event called Survive the Night.

Survive the Night involves active participation of volunteers helping the homeless community around Lubbock get shelter, food and disaster relief.

“We take our truck around during 30 degrees or below temperatures around 6 p.m. during the months of November to mid-February,” Sudduth said. “We drive around downtown looking for homeless community who aren’t able to get back to our shelter and provide them with blankets, warm clothing like scarves, beanies, gloves, that sort of thing.”

Sudduth said during the winter the Salvation Army asks for donations and blankets and they are later put in the building’s storage unit to be supplied to those in need during the right time. Tech students usually help out in the shelter, she said, helping arrange bags containing blankets and hygiene kits. Sudduth said during January there is a sign-up sheet for volunteers to help on their rounds for Survive the Night.

“The program is designed to try and help people survive the night,” Dave Frericks, the disaster coordinator at the Lubbock Salvation Army, said. “Nights we go out and find them on the street and provide them with socks, caps and a hot meal. And if they want we can bring them to the shelter for the night so they can survive one more day.“

Salvation Army recruited Frericks after his work in the government as an advisory board member in the disaster team during 1994.

“One night in February we went out during 12-degree weather. The wind was blowing and we happened to find a fellow sleeping on a bench. He was wearing a T-shirt and shorts,” Frericks said. “He was shaking so badly he could barely stand up. We got him in down here and there was no question in my mind, I wanted to save his life. He would have died right there.”

According to the Tech website students often volunteer with Salvation Army during Tech Lubbock Community Day and with other organizations like Raiders Helping Others.

Tashika Curlee, a senior English and sociology dual major from Paris, Texas, has volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, the South Plains Food Bank and the Salvation Army.

Curlee said that she had previously volunteered with the Salvation Army along with her organization Pegasus.

“From everything that I had heard, the Salvation Army was an organization meant to help those who were struggling within the community,” she said.

Most of the students who volunteer at the Salvation Army are assigned to meal preparation, cleaning or other basic duties, she said. Curlee was able to be a part of the volunteer team through the preparation of meals.

During her time volunteering, Curlee said she felt like she really got to know the staff and the work they put forth, in addition to those individuals in need.

“Most of the people were so nice and had an amazing attitude regardless of their circumstances. One family that is burned into my memory is that of a Hispanic father and his two young daughters,” she said. “The daughters were smiling and playing around with each other. They were not the only family we served that day, there were some others as well.”

Volunteering is an important part of being a member of a community, Curlee said. Community means helping others.

“As a college student, I recognize that I would not be here getting a higher education if not for the generosity of those within our community in giving out scholarships and other forms of financial aid,” Curlee said. “Therefore, I believe volunteering at any level showcases how thankful I am and my desire to give back to a community that has given me so much.”

thq13

Foodie events & Food Drive in Southwest Florida

 

thq13

Feeding Our Communities | Fifth Third Bank (South Florida) has partnered with The Salvation Army to collect 5,300 pounds of non-perishable food items during the “Feeding our Communities” food drive. Bank employees and customers – as well as local businesses and community residents – are encouraged to contribute non-perishable food items. Donations will be accepted at all Fifth Third Bank (South Florida) branches through April 24. Food collection bins are set up at all 53 Fifth Third banking centers. 449-7088.

Wednesday, April 1

  • Feeding Our Communities Fifth Third Bank (South Florida) has partnered with The Salvation Army to collect 5,300 pounds of non-perishable food items during the “Feeding our Communities” food drive. Bank employees and customers – as well as local businesses and community residents – are encouraged to contribute non-perishable food items. Donations will be accepted at all Fifth Third Bank (South Florida) branches through April 24. Food collection bins are set up at all 53 Fifth Third banking centers. 449-7088.
  • Flavors of Matlacha Tour This delightful history, public art, eco and taste adventure combines Matlacha’s salty history with the signature tastes of this cracker fishing village-turned artist colony. Tours begin at The Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens, 4637 Pine Island Road NW, Matlacha. $13. 10 a.m. Wednesdays. Reservations required 945-0405. truetours.net
  • Health Park Farmers Market Farmers Market comes to Health Park, featuring the finest local produce and citrus. Joined with specialty vendors to offer many wonderful foods and craft products. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Village Shoppes at Health Park, 16200 Summerlin Road, Fort Myers. 470-9007.

Thursday, April 2

  • Coconut Point Farmers Market Peruse the market for fresh produce, local seafood, meats, beautiful flowers, locally harvested honey, baked goods, and even dog treats! You can also find one-of-a-kind handcrafts for sale. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays. Coconut Point, 23130 Fashion Drive, Estero. 691-9249 buylocallee.com/farmers-markets/coconut-point/
  • Lobstermania Every Thursday Parrot Key offers a variety of lobster specials. Choose to have it steamed, baked, broiled or get a set of twin lobster tails. 4-10 p.m. Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, 2500 Main St., Fort Myers Beach, 463-3257.
  • Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery Tours and Tastings Come see how award winning Wicked Dolphin Florida Rum is made. Tours are available Tuesdays, Thursdays at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Wicked Dolphin Distillery, 131 SW 3rd Place, Cape Coral, 242-5244. wickeddolphin.com

Friday, April 3

  • Lakes Park Farmers Market one of the largest in Lee County, this farmer’s market has over 60 vendors offering fresh produce, fruit smoothies, meats, seafood, and more. Also, look for unique and hand-crafted gifts. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays. Lakes Park, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, south Fort Myers. 691-9249. buylocallee.com/farmers-markets/lakes-park-farmers-market/

Saturday, April 4

  • Bonita Springs Farmers Market locally grown and produced items including everything from garden-fresh fruits and vegetables to cut flowers, decorative plants, baked goods, seafood, honey, and more. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Promenade At Bonita Bay, 26811 S. Bay Drive, Bonita Springs. 691-9249. buylocallee.com/farmers-markets/bonita-springs-farmers-market/
  • Cape Coral Farmers’ Market Fresh local produce, Gulf-fresh seafood, baked goods, native plants and trees, crafts, jewelry, and live music by Dave Lapio, John Friday and Yard Dog Charlie. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, through May 9. Authorized EBT/SNAP. Cape Coral Farmer’s Market, SE 47th Terrace and SE 10th Place, Club Square, Cape Coral. 549-6900. capecoralfarmersmarket.com
  • Greenmarket Farmers Market Find local produce, seafood, honey, cheeses, baked goods, plants and gardening supplies, and more. Live music, free Wi-Fi, and free classes in a natural setting that the family can enjoy. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 939-2787.

Sunday, April 5

  • Champagne Jazz Brunch Brunch hours 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Enjoy a fantastic seafood, champagne brunch and relaxing jazz music with Jazz Duo: Vocalist, Jean Frye Sidwell and Bassist, Chris Sidwell. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $49 adults, $24 children age 5-12, free age 5 and younger. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, 5001 Coconut Rd, Bonita Springs, 444-1234. .coconutpoint.hyatt.com
  • Farmers Market Koreshan State Historic Site will be hosting a Farmers Market starting Nov. 9 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. To date, there are over 25 vendors registered with the best fruits and vegetables to be found along with many other items. $5 parking fee. Koreshan State Historic Site, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, 992-0311.
  • Sunday Brunch Piano and vocals for Sunday brunch with Michael Moore-Kelly, open to the public. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Herons Glen Golf and Country Club, 2250 Avenida Del Vera, North Fort Myers, 731-4545.
  • Special Easter Menu Naples Grande Beach Resort’s brand-new vibrant seafood restaurant, The Catch of the Pelican, is offering a three course pre-fixe menu for Easter on Sunday, April 5. The menu will feature locally sourced produce from Chef Tim Yoa’s on-site farm and Rabbit Run Farm and diners can also choose items from the raw bar, fresh seafood from the “catches” section of the menu, and steaks. Reservations can be made through the resort’s website or by calling 855-453-0716. noon-8 p.m. $59. Naples Grande Beach Resort, 475 Seagate Drive, Naples
  • Sanibel Island Farmers Market This must-see shopping destination with over 45 vendors is home to our area’s most treasured natural assets. Browse for fresh bread, local produce, honey, seafood, meats, and cheeses. Sundays 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sanibel City Hall, 800 Dunlop Road, Sanibel. 691-9249 . buylocallee.com/farmers-markets/33-2/
  • Sunday Jazz Brunch extensive buffet and made to order omelets and Eggs Benedict. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $13 adults, $7 children 10 and younger. George and Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille, 2499 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. 395-1263. sanibelseafoogrille.com
  • Village Green Market Enjoy a green market by the bay every Sunday offering fresh produce, handmade and homemade specialties, and fine foods. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The Village on Venetian Bay, 4200 Gulfshore Blvd. N., Naples. 403-2202. venetianvillage.com

Monday, April 6

  • Fletchers Farmers Market Fresh Local Produce, Local Vendors 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays. Fletchers Farmers Market, 627 Cape Coral Parkway W, Cape Coral, 542-7878. fletchersgrille.com
  • Monday Rib Night Full rack of slow cooked baby back ribs served with fries and slaw. 5-10 p.m. $18. George and Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille, 2499 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. 395-1263. sanibelseafoodgrille.com

Tuesday, April 7

  • Homemade Spaghetti and Meatball dinner Dine in for $6 or take out $6.25 and is open to the public from 5-7 p.m. American Legion Post 38, 1857 Jackson St., Fort Myers, 332-1853. alpost38-swfl.org
  • Lunch Cruise This cruise focuses on the fishing cultures of Pine Island Sound from the indigenous Calusa to the spectacular Tarpon and sport fishing of today. Inclues lunch at the Historic Tarpon Lodge and guided walk on the Calusa Indian Mound Trail. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $45 adult, $35 children. Captiva Cruises-McCarthy’s Marina, 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 472-5300. captivacruises.com
  • Surfside Sunset Market indoor shopping from May to November, outside November thru April. Fresh, healthy and local produce bakery items, Micro-greens, handcrafted soaps and lotions, local honey, jams and jellies and more. 3-8 p.m. Tuesdays. The Shops at Surfside, 2354 Surfside Blvd., Cape Coral, 549-6900 ext 101.

Saturday, April 11

  • Fairy Tea Party Enjoy treats, tea sandwiches, punch and tea in the butterfly garden. Feel free to wear fairy or butterfly wings. Registration is required at least one week in advance and there is a limited number of spaces. (3-12 years)The Fairy Tea Party is also available as a private party – call to make special arrangements. 11 a.m.- noon. $15-$23. Rotary Park, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral, 549-4606. CapeParks.com
  • Fifth Annual Crawfish Boil The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County is hosting the Fifth Annual Crawfish Boil on April 11, starting at 3 p.m. The event is open to the public and will feature authentic Louisiana themed food and crawfish, live entertainment, activities, raffles, give-a-ways and more. Tickets are $25. Kids 12 and under are free. The event is a friendraiser, to increase awareness of the Club and the valuable resources it offers to our local community. All proceeds will benefit 3,000 of the most at-risk children and teens in Collier County. 3-7 p.m. Boys & Girls Club, 7500 Davis Blvd, Naples, 325-1718. bgccc.com/news-and-events/event/crawfish-boil-2015
  • Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser Luvybear Quilts 4 Tots fundraiser with door prizes, raffles, special entertainment and more. $5 for adults and $3 for kids 8 and younger. 8 a.m.-noon. Italian American Club, 4725 Vincennes Blvd., Cape Coral. 770-8277.
From left, Terrance Bostic, Shaun Carroll and Miesha McLeod sing karaoke at the Chattanooga Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue recently. The Salvation Army offers karaoke every Wednesday to give area homeless people something to look forward to.
Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Homeless karaoke lovers find a home at the Salvation Army

Karaoke

From left, Terrance Bostic, Shaun Carroll and Miesha McLeod sing karaoke at the Chattanooga Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue recently. The Salvation Army offers karaoke every Wednesday to give area homeless people something to look forward to. Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

A sleeping woman embraced her belongings in a corner booth, seemingly deaf to her surroundings as fellow homeless Chattanoogans took their turns belting out karaoke songs at the Chattanooga Salvation Army on Wednesday.

But she was the only one asleep — the rest of Chattanooga’s homeless karaoke lovers danced vigorously between the coffee tables at the small cafe.

Standing out of the way of the dancers, Jessica Owens, a 52-year-old who has been homeless on and off for the past eight years, waited to take the stage.

“I’m kind of shy but I used to sing when I was younger so this makes me feel good and brings back memories,” Owens said. “[Karaoke] gives me some peace, kinda gives me a little excitement, since the majority of the time I’m by myself.”

When she took the stage, she sang Whitney Houston, her favorite artist. Despite the eruption of applause when she finished, she kept her eyes low and offered only a hidden a smile.

Karaoke isn’t a hot shower, isn’t a free meal, isn’t a bed to sleep in — but it is a chance to feel human.

“Where else can homeless go to perform, be applauded and loved on in the Tennessee Valley?” asked Kimberly George, the director of marketing and development for the Salvation Army 614 Corps.

The weekly event offers people who love karaoke an alternative to going to a bar to sing, and brings people into the building who may otherwise not request help.

Sometimes karaoke can even change lives, said George. Since the karaoke events began three years ago, one man devoted his life to the seminary, and many others are now off the streets, some even returning to volunteer on a regular basis. George said she thinks karaoke day is unique to the Chattanooga location — no other programs like it are anywhere in the United States.

“It just touches my heart, seeing people trying to get off of the street,” said volunteer Fred Holland. “If they have a bad day or sad day or something on their mind, it allows them to sing it out instead of going out and doing drugs or getting in trouble.”