fans for the elderly

Fans for the elderly

fans for the elderly

Fans for the Elderly

The Salvation Army and an area media firm are teaming up to assist in making sure that the elderly keep cool throughout the summer’s brutal heat.
Thomas Media and the charity are gathering fans to distribute to elderly and others in poor health.

Salvation Army officers say they’ve given away 15 thus far.

Anyone can donate to the Salvation Army or at any Thomas Media location.

Churches are also gathering money to donate to the Salvation Army.

This is the first year for the program, which started July 1 and will proceed until the end of August.

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:

women of dedication

Women of Dedication Honored

women of dedication

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.

Hands Across Texas – Hug Lady

Elizabeth Laird, Fort Hood’s Official “Hug Lady”

By: Leslie Galban

Twelve years and counting, Salvation Army volunteer Elizabeth Laird, the “Hug Lady” of Fort Hood, has been hugging every soldier being deployed or returning home from duty.

Elizabeth and her husband, Ray, moved to Texas more than 40 years ago. They became long-time volunteers for The Salvation Army serving as bell ringers, disaster relief workers, and actively supported their local Salvation Army unit in Copperas Cove.

hug lady

In 2003, Elizabeth received a phone call from the commanding officer of The Salvation Army Killeen Corps asking for help greeting soldiers at Fort Hood, the largest active duty armored post in the United States Armed Services. Being a veteran of the US Air Force, Elizabeth knew this was important and something she and her husband wanted to be part of.  The couple joined other Salvation Army volunteers sending off soldiers with a smile and a hug along with stationery and postage to send letters to their loved ones while deployed.  So began years of dedicated service to thousands of soldiers at Fort Hood, earning Elizabeth the affectionate nickname, the “Hug Lady.”

Ray passed away suddenly in January of 2008 and despite her grief Elizabeth continued her faithful service to the soldiers, without her husband of 36 years. “Even in grief, when you help others, it helps you,” explained Elizabeth. “The hug is important to the soldiers and it brings a smile to their face.”

“As they leave, I tell them about God’s protection in the 91st Psalm,” she added. “When I hug them, I tell them ‘I will be here when you get back’.”

Elizabeth, 82, does not consider herself selfless or extraordinary. “Volunteering and encouraging others is what you are supposed to do. That is what The Salvation Army does; where there is a need, the Army is there to meet it,” she said. “People might recognize me as the Hug Lady, but I don’t want people to see me, I want them to see Jesus.”

Community Events

Changing the Coffee Culture

coffee culture

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

This post was originally featured in The New Frontier Chronicle.

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 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.

overcoming obstacles

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.

Charlie Wilson: Dedicated Volunteer for Over 20 Years

charlie WilsonCharlie Wilson is still volunteering at The Salvation Army West Women’s & Children’s Shelter – and he is in his nineties!  For almost three decades, Charlie and Luisa Wilson dedicated themselves to helping those in need every day by visiting and dropping off much-needed items at homeless and domestic violence shelters in Portland, Oregon.  It all started with a passion that Charlie and Luisa shared for giving back to those in need.  By trade, Charlie was a civil engineer, but in his free-time, he and Luisa collected blankets, pants, shoes, combs, food and other valuables and delivered bags by foot and bus to the children, women, and men in the shelters.  When Luisa passed away several years ago, Charlie decided to continue this mission with the help of his children.  He says he is trying to help keep others alive.

It all began when both Charlie and his wife Luisa were children, one in the United States and the other in South America.  Both families, despite growing up in different countries and cultures, instilled the spirit of helping those in need in their children.  When they met and were married, they carried on this spirit for nearly 30 years and maintained a very active role in the community.  When Luisa passed away, Charlie continued to volunteer in the Portland community and at The Salvation Army’s West Women’s & Children’s Shelter.

Charlie says that he was an “understudy for a saint.”

After over 20 years, Charlie, now in nineties, is still a regular volunteer at The Salvation Army’s West Women’s & Children’s Shelter, a domestic violence shelter, where he fixes vacuums, makes repairs,  helps as a Spanish interpreter and  lovingly fills the role of friend, father and grandfather, a position these 42 women and children so greatly need filled.  He is an inspiration and a support to every life he touches.  Charlie plans to celebrate his 100th birthday with his friends there.

Many of the women and children at The Salvation Army’s West Women’s & Children’s Shelter have suffered from domestic violence, oftentimes from the men in their lives.  They walk into the shelter with their guard up against men, but with every smile and encouraging word, Charlie breaks down this barrier and dispels this myth about men.  He is a positive influence on these women and children who have never known what a good-hearted man is.  Charlie gives them hope for a better future.  Years after leaving the program, the women and children still remember Charlie’s kind heart.

Post contributed by Teresa Steinmetz, Director of Communications & Marketing at The Salvation Army Portland Metro Cascade Divisional Headquarter