Fill the Bus

fill the bus

WACO, TEXAS — It’s almost back to school time, and the Salvation Army in Waco is looking to “Fill the Bus”.

The “Fill the Bus” campaign aims to raise donations and school supplies for children who otherwise wouldn’t have their necessary materials for school. Last year’s campaign brought in enough supplies to distribute to more than 200 students.

The Salvation Army says this campaign is not just to benefit students, but also to save teachers some money as well.

“A lot of the time, the teachers actually go into their own pockets. And, you know, they don’t make a lot of money to begin with. But, they want to make sure that the children have what they need. One of our biggest passions is to support the teachers that are teaching the children,” said Major Dan Ford of the Waco Salvation Army.

“Fill the Bus” will take place at the Walmart on Hewitt Drive and the Walmart on Franklin Avenue on August 1 and August 2. To register to receive school supplies, please contact the Salvation Army.
salvationarmytexas.org

Alexis Spears
Multi-Media Journalist

Surviving Abuse

Originally featured in The New Frontier Chronicle, a source of news and networking for The Salvation Army. Read more at http://www.newfrontierchronicle.org.
A first-hand account of addiction and recovery
By Sherita Mouzon

surviving abuse

Sherita Mouzon with her daughter

 
Growing up, we used to have to heat the house with kerosene heaters and they were old. The smell from the smoke would get into my clothes and the kids would tease me in school.

I later became a heavy cocaine user; even after I had my daughter at age 31, it was not enough to stop. I wanted to die. I knew God had put me on this earth for a reason and it couldn’t be this.

I grew up in poverty and food insecurity all my life. I witnessed domestic violence and was raped by age 9. I never had a stable home environment and grew up witnessing the multi-generational effects of poverty. I knew I wanted a better life for myself, but did not know how to get there. I was also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and untreated trauma, so my life was filled with drug use and risky behavior. I didn’t see a future for myself.

When I didn’t have money to buy my daughter anything for Christmas in 2008, I wrote to President Barack Obama requesting a present for my daughter. The White House forwarded my letter to a Salvation Army center in Philadelphia. I received help from one of the social workers there, who gave me three $20 Walmart gift cards and two bags of food.

Shortly after that act of kindness, I joined the Witness to Hunger program at Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Public Health in 2010. Witness to Hunger is a research and advocacy project that partners with real experts on hunger—mothers and caregivers of young children who have experienced hunger and poverty. Through photographs, “witnesses” advocate for their own families and others and seek to create lasting changes on a local, state and national level.

With my involvement in the program, I was able to get self-help group training based on the sanctuary model by Dr. Sandra Bloom at Drexel University. The sanctuary model is a support group that teaches people how to talk about and heal from trauma and focuses on four main bodies of knowledge: trauma theory, social learning moral intelligence, democracy and complexity theory.

Through this process I realized why I was having self-destructive behavior. I had attachment disorder from my mother never being emotionally present to me and I had PTSD by witnessing the abuse my mom suffered at the hands of my brother’s father. I was also suffering from the shame of being raped by my babysitter’s female daughter. Only by going to a self-help group was I able to heal from the trauma I had suffered for so many years.

After this training, I began working for Drexel and then at the Kroc Center as a peer mentor and running self-help groups. The Salvation Army also wanted this program at the Temple Corps, the same place The White House had sent my letter three years before.

Currently I’m a peer-mentoring caseworker for The Salvation Army and I run self-help groups for the community as well as staff and interns. The Lord has given me a way to share my story and also mentor others. I was not able to help myself until I accepted the Lord’s help. He put me here in this program for a reason.

I’m now sober and living with my husband and daughter. I want people to know that with God’s help any and all things are possible. I was lonely, depressed and angry, and I know other people out there feel the same way and I want to help those people. That’s what this program does.

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.

Goodwill and Salvation Army Team Up to help Arizonans find jobs

goodwill salvation army

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

Trading places: A Homeless Experience

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The following was originally posted on The Salvation Army Northern Division’s blog.
The mercury plunged to minus 6 the night Nicholas Conner slept under a bridge in Fargo, N.D. He was curled up inside his sleeping bag wearing street clothes, a jacket, hat and mittens. But the layers were no match for the biting cold. His chattering teeth sounded like a telegraph clicking SOS.
“I spent the whole night shivering – I might have slept two hours,” he said.
The crazy part is, Conner didn’t have to be there. He’s a full-time college student and could have been sleeping in the warmth of his dorm room.
Even more peculiar, he spent the next night in his car – and the following seven nights in a Fargo homeless shelter, where he ended up getting sick with a fever of 102.7.
If Conner didn’t have to live like that, then why did he?
One simple reason: He wanted to know exactly what homeless people go through so that he could serve them more effectively as a volunteer at the Fargo Salvation Army and elsewhere. No more, no less.
“Nicholas Conner is an incredible young man of God,” said Major Byron Medlock, Fargo Salvation Army administrator. “His passion for service is nothing short of inspiring, and he’s only 19.”
Pivotal moment

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Conner’s homeless experiment took place in December 2012, several months after his first time serving hot meals at the Fargo Salvation Army – where he still volunteers to this day.
“There was a very pivotal moment that’s kept me coming back (to The Salvation Army),” said Conner, a North Dakota State University sophomore from Bemidji, Minn. “It happened when I met this homeless guy who started telling me about his life – how he served in Desert Storm, how we was in prison for 10 years, how he was an alcoholic.”
The man wound up showing Conner where he lived: A few blocks from the Fargo Salvation Army, underneath the evergreen bushes pictured above.
“He broke down and cried right in front of me,” Conner recalled. “It was my first real encounter with homelessness. I skipped my calculus class because of the conversation I was having with him.”
With that, Conner discovered a newfound passion: helping people who have nothing.
“I had to do more,” explained Conner, a devout Christian. “It ignited a passion in me for wanting to bring these people something and give them something to look forward to, to think about, to work for.”
Perfect fit

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The Fargo Salvation Army is the perfect fit for Conner to carry out his passion for helping homeless people in the name of Jesus Christ. The place allows him to interact with the 100-plus homeless people who come there every weekday for a bevy of services: hot breakfasts and lunches, showers, clothing, counseling, spiritual support and – above all – love.
Conner serves breakfast or lunch there at least once a week (pictured).
“Afterward, I mingle,” he said. “I try to help people understand they’re not alone in this. These people really need support.”
Conner provides more of that support outside of the Fargo Salvation Army. He’s the founder of a student organization called Hands and Feet, a 32-member Bible study group that performs service projects every two weeks.
“We’re all about being the hands and feet of Christ,” said Conner, who plans to attend seminary after college. “Last year the service project everyone enjoyed the most was throwing a Super Bowl party for homeless people. We put the game on for them and served a bunch of football food.”
Conner doesn’t enjoy recognition, and agreed to be interviewed for this story on one condition: that God get all the credit.
“I am not anything special, I am just trying my very best to submit to God,” he said. “I believe in service that is selfless and humble.”
The Salvation Army couldn’t have said it better. Join us in that same spirit of service by getting involved. Doing so is easy: You can make a donation or find volunteer opportunities in your area.

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

haiti
“’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://give.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. 

“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!

The General of The Salvation Army Pays Tribute to Nelson Mandela

nelson mandela

Salvation Army General André Cox pays tribute to Nelson Mandela in a letter to the family of the former South African President. He explained that his years spent in Africa had given him ‘a sense of the measure of Madiba’s life and influence’.

So many have already spoken eloquently or written lucidly,’ wrote the General. ‘I would simply wish to salute a great man – one whose character was nourished by hope, expressed through forgiveness, and testified to through reconciliation.’

He concluded: ‘I pray that you would each know the Father of compassion and God of all comfort drawing so very near to you. During this Advent season, may you each experience fully the peace of the Christ child.’

The General and Commissioner Silvia Cox spent four years as leaders of The Salvation Army’s Southern Africa Territory. As The Salvation Army’s first Africa-born world leader it is appropriate that he should pay tribute to the man who has been called the greatest-ever African.

Commissioner William Langa (Territorial Commander, Southern Africa Territory) said in a statement: ‘Mr Mandela’s immeasurable contribution to South Africa cannot be overstated. His commitment to helping the poor and vulnerable, and his pursuit of reconciliation in our divided society was a shining example to those of us who serve the Lord Jesus Christ through The Salvation Army. Salvationists throughout the world have recognised his statesmanship and moral leadership. May his soul rest in peace in the everlasting arms of Christ.’

The General’s letter can be seen in full at flic.kr/p/i7Qmzd

Cordon Bleu Chef Creates Cuisine From Food Pantry Staples

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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.

The Las Vegas Review Journal did a public service this week in the pages of their paper.

They drew some much-deserved attention to the great work of Chef Jay Jones who does cooking demonstrations at our Family Service Center, and they shared some of his advice and recipes for those on a tight food budget.

Chef-Jay-1-food-pantryChef Jay Jones is a culinary heavyweight.

He had his own fine dining restaurant, has a background in Cordon Bleu, and teaches at the Las Vegas Culinary Academy.

And, as if that were not enough, he does cooking demonstrations on a regular basis for clients of The Salvation Army’s Food Pantry, located at 1581 N. Main Street in Las Vegas.

Chef Jay cooking with ramen noodles.

His recipes start with items that are part of the regular fare at the food pantry, then combines them with budget-friendly seasonings from the dollar store and foods that folks are likely to have at home already.

 

Here’s a great example:

Five spice ramen with sesame meatballs
½ pound ground beef
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 packages ramen noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, mix beef, breadcrumbs, onion powder, sesame oil and garlic powder until combined. Roll into ½-inch meatballs (larger if you like). Put on sheet pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until brown and done (155 degrees internal temperature).

Bring 4 cups water to a boil add five-spice powder. Add ramen (do not add seasoning packets) and meatballs. Cook until ramen is done.

Click here to read the rest of the story on the Las Vegas Review Journal website.
Click here to connect with The Salvation Army in Southern Nevada on Facebook.
Click here to contact our Public Relations Director Leslee Rogers in Las Vegas if you’d like to support our food pantry!

Read original blog here.

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!

Selena Gomez

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.