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mission statement

Salvation Army captains bid farewell, extend thanks to community

After more than three years overseeing the Bartow County service area, Salvation Army Capts. Lee and Michelle Wilson will bid farewell June 21.

“We received our orders to move to the divisional headquarters of the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi division of The Salvation Army,” Michelle Wilson said. “Our office will be located in Jackson, Miss. Our roles in Jackson will be in finance for myself and program for Lee.

“We are so grateful for the many blessings we have received from serving here in Bartow County. We could not have met the many challenges and opportunities that came our way without the support of the community. We truly say from the bottom of our hearts, ‘Thank you for your support.’”

She continued, “I have been amazed since our first few days here about how giving this community is, especially when it comes to nonprofits. Our kettle effort is a testimony of this, as we run a 55 percent volunteer driven effort. This far exceeds the standard of many other Salvation Army commands both small and large.”

Extending thanks to the community, the Wilsons said they were continuously impressed by the public’s willingness to help their neighbors in need.

“I think my most memorable moment is how God has provided over and over again through the generosity of others,” Michelle Wilson said. “In nonprofit work, you can be tempted to walk by sight and be discouraged by the great needs around you, but we know that as Christians we walk by faith in expectancy of what will be done for us.

“We have been, at many times throughout our 3 1/2 years, unsure of how we would meet the needs of our neighbors in need but just at the right time, the heart of a caring volunteer or generous donor would be led to support us in exactly the way that was needed.”

Operating in Cartersville since 1995, The Salvation Army — an evangelical part of the universal Christian church — aided more than 11,000 people last year with various services, such as food, financial assistance and youth character building programs. While the thrift store closed April 30, the nonprofit will hold monthly sales in the future to support The Salvation Army’s programs and services.

“In 2014, The Salvation Army served 11,324 people right here in Bartow County. That, based on 2013’s population is 11.18 percent of Bartow County that is being served by The Salvation Army,” Michelle Wilson said. “Each and every day we provide basic needs, such as food, toiletries, prescription assistance, utility assistance and disaster services.

“We also serve underprivileged children each week through our youth character building programs, which provide life skills to youth K [through] 12. Lastly, we offer our seasonal services that provide toys and clothing through the Angel Tree program to children in need, opportunities for children to attend weeklong summer camps as well as community care outreach to shut-ins throughout the county.”

In addition to The Salvation Army’s donors and recipients, Bartow’s church community also has made a lasting impression on Lee Wilson.
“Bartow County is a county that prays,” he said. “Last year my wife and I were present at the National Day of Prayer service that was held outside of the courthouse. While there, we learned of the Bible being read cover to cover in various places in the county, and we thought that was amazing. So amazing, that this year, we took our youth group to one of the locations to participate in this reading. Seeing our young people taking part in this event was something I will never forget.”

On June 28, the Wilsons’ successors — Capts. Scott and Michelle Lyles — will start serving the Salvation Army’s Cartersville Corps.

“This transition of leadership in The Salvation Army is something that happens every so often,” Lee Wilson said. “Capts. Scott and Michelle Lyles are two very capable officers, and I know that they are not only praying for their new community, but looking forward to joining the Bartow County family. It is my hope and prayer that you will embrace them as you did us, and continue to support the work of The Salvation Army as they continue to do the work that our Lord and Savior has called us all to do.”

For more information about supporting the Salvation Army, located at 16 Felton Place, call 770-386-6256 or send the nonprofit a message via its Facebook page, The Salvation Army – Cartersville, Ga.

 

Original Article can be seen here

women of dedication

Women of Dedication Honored

women of dedication

The 50th Women of Dedication presented by The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary was held on April 7 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Fifteen women were recognized for their support to the San Diego community. Honoree Dr. Elisabeth Jones was unable to attend and is not included in the photo. Proceeds raised at the event are designated for the Haven Program at the Door of Hope. Other funds raised bringing the total net to $200,000, go to the programs supported by the Auxiliary. Corporate Sponsors for the luncheon included San Diego Foundation, SDG&E/Sempra Energy, San Diego Chargers, Ahern Seeds, Sycuan Casino and Union Bank.

20150428NepalEarthquake

Salvation Army accepting donations for Nepal earthquake victims

20150428NepalEarthquake

Donations for Nepal are being accepted

The Salvation Army is mobilizing emergency response personnel and supplies after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal flattened homes and buildings, causing widespread damage across the region and killing more than 2,000 people.

With more than 75 offices throughout the area, volunteers and staff are well-prepared to service the immediate and long-term needs of those impacted by natural disasters. Since 1882, the Salvation Army has served the people of its India Eastern territory.

“Donations from the generous public will help provide basic necessities that survivors desperately need right now,” said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, the Salvation Army’s national community relations and development secretary. “But the effects of this tragedy will be felt for months – even years. We know that emotional and spiritual counseling is equally important for survivors to deal with the gravity of the situation.”

Monetary donations are the most critical need for survivors. The Salvation Army has set up a designated fund in which 100 percent of gifts will go to relief efforts in Nepal. To donate, visit salar.my/Nepal or call 800-SAL-ARMY.

Check donations to Salvation Army World Service Office, designated for “Nepal Earthquake,” can be sent to: Salvation Army World Service Office, International Relief Fund, P.O. Box 418558, Boston, MA 02241-8558.

In-kind donations are not being accepted.

Kroc-Center

Hampton Roads Kroc Center – The Salvation Army is about to celebrate it’s 1-year anniversary.

Kroc-Center

The Salvation Army is about to celebrate a big anniversary, and it’s bringing in NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith to lead the charge.

“We’re glad he’s coming to share the message of hope for young people to do the right thing. Build character,” said Major Stephen Long of the Salvation Army.

The Hampton Roads Kroc Center is at 1401 Ballentine Blvd. in Norfolk in the Broad Creek area. It’s a massive, positive place for children and families to get involved in programs together — from weight lifting at the gym to fitness classes to basketball to swimming in the giant indoor water park. There are music classes and character-building classes.

But the part of the Kroc Center that’s the favorite of 8 year-old Tye Austin might surprise you — church services.

“It’s fun and I like the service,” Tye said. “I learn how to behave better and how to respect parents better.”

Learning Christian values and becoming better individuals is something they value at the Kroc Center. Each year they hold a black-tie fundraising dinner to help families with membership fees. Last year’s dinner raised $96,000 and they hope to top that that this Thursday by bringing in the Super Bowl champ, who got his start in athletics participating in programs at the Salvation Army community center where he grew up.

human trafficking

Arrest made in joint GLA anti-slavery operation

anti-slavery

Thirteen people have been arrested as part of an operation involving the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), Peterborough City Council and National Crime Agency (NCA), the British Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Operation Launch is the Peterborough-led response to Operation Mustily, an on-going NCA investigation into human trafficking and forced labour of Slovakian nationals within the UK.

Around 300 police and partner agency officers and staff were involved in the operation in Peterborough that saw raids and arrests at 20 properties across the city.

Officers engaged with 46 potential victims, 20 of which, including six children, have been removed from the properties and taken to a reception centre, facilitated by Peterborough City Council, while further enquiries are carried out.

Those arrested, six men and seven women, have all been taken to Thorpe Wood police station.

The names of those arrested were not disclosed

General Andre Cox

General André Cox to visit Asbury University

General Andre Cox

Gen. André Cox Will be on campus today and Wednesday

WILMORE, Ky. (April 21, 2015) — Gen. André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox of The Salvation Army are at Asbury University today and Wednesday.

Cox is the 20th world-wide leader of the Salvation Army. Cox previously held appointments in Switzerland and Zimbabwe and served as a territorial commander in the Southern Africa Territory, the Finland and Estonia Territory and the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland. In February 2013, he was appointed as Chief of the Staff.

The visit will include a tour of Asbury, meetings with university leadership, fellowship with Salvationist faculty and staff and a Chapel address on Wednesday.

Asbury’s relationship with the Salvation Army is longstanding—the first Salvationist student came to Asbury in 1924, and over the years, more than 500 Salvationists have attended the university.

Asbury University is the only college with an official Salvation Army Student Center, which was built in 1983

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.”