inmates salvation army holiday program

Inmates the ‘backbone’ of Salvation Army holiday program

inmates salvation army holiday program

An inmate from the Bristol County House of Correction on the Sheriff’s Inmate Work Crew program sorts toys at the Salvation Army in New Bedford on Monday to help with the increase in work due to the holiday season.

John Sladewski/The Standard-Times

NEW BEDFORD — So, how helpful are the guys in red suits around The Salvation Army?

“What they do, you can’t even measure it,” Maj. Gilbert Parkhurst said.

“We wouldn’t be able to do any of (the Christmas help) without them,” Maj. BethEllen Parkhurst said.

“They’re unbelievable. Just incredible. They do anything we ask them to do,” volunteer Sandy Medeiros said.

They’re not talking about special volunteers or guys dressed in Santa Costumes, but a group of six inmates from the Bristol County House of Correction.

These prisoners are shuttled from the Dartmouth jail to The Salvation Army building on Purchase Street every morning during the holiday season. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., they do everything from emptying the trash bags to stocking pantry shelves to carrying large boxes of clothes, food and toys. Monday afternoon, they unloaded a massive truck full of toys — the first delivery of the year to The Salvation Army, paid for with funds raised from the Neediest Families Fund.

The inmates provide manpower, often necessary to unload trucks full of heavy donation boxes — and they do it with a smile.

“They’re really the backbone of the whole operation behind the scenes,” said Costa, who has been with The Salvation Army in the city for more than 30 years. “I can’t say enough about those gentlemen. The community should know that these guys have good hearts and they’re doing it with a smile on their faces.”

The inmates are part of the Sheriff’s Office’s Inmate Work Program, which takes those behind bars out into the community doing a range of community service, from removing graffiti to refurbishing public buildings and preparing baseball fields for upcoming seasons.

They are under the direction of Lt. Bob Johnson, a city native and 23-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who has been supervising inmates’ work at The Salvation Army for almost 10 years.

“I’ve never had a single incident,” Lt. Johnson said. “We’ve unloaded thousands of pounds of food. You can’t beat the 12 hands I bring along.”

The inmate crews doing work at The Salvation Army and other places are all serving sentences of 10 months or less. Lt. Johnson said there are no sexual or violent offenders. All have been tried and convicted, none is awaiting trial, and all are in for non-violent crimes.

Acushnet resident Samuel DesRoches is one those inmates working at The Salvation Army. DesRoches, who is in for burning a motor vehicle, said that seeing the struggling people who come in for Christmas help or food donations helped him appreciate what he has.

“We get to help a lot of people, and these people are really struggling,” DesRoches said. “It definitely helped me appreciate my life a lot more and appreciate the smaller things, and to be a better person when I get out.”

“It’s a nice opportunity to see that this box of food I packed is going to help a family in need,” said inmate Paul Lindstrom, a Providence native who is in for operating under the influence. “The people here do such a great job. It just makes you want to work even harder seeing what they do here.”

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said it’s not necessarily about the work they do while they’re in jail, but the impact it has when they get out.

“It gives them the confidence that when they get out of jail, they can make the community a better place,” he said. “This gives them a chance to help others and know they’re making a difference. We’ve had inmates get jobs at places they’ve done service at.”

At the end of the holiday season, the inmates are treated to a special appreciation lunch in the break room at The Salvation Army.

“We get to sit down with them and tell them how much we appreciate what they’ve done for us,” Maj. Gilbert Parkhurst said. “Even while they’re working, I get a chance to talk to them, talk about their lives, what they’ve done and what they want to accomplish when they get out. We’ve even had some come back and help us out after they get released.”

By Jonathan Darling

The General of The Salvation Army Pays Tribute to Nelson Mandela

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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

Selena Gomez Talks Online Red Kettle With Ryan Seacrest

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

Click here to listen!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real Love Feels Safe: Domestic Abuse Services for Women Seeking Refuge

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It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you know someone suffering violence, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org for information on Salvation Army shelters near you. 

BREVARD COUNTY, FLA – Janice’s* scar is still visible.
The large oval red mark is where her boyfriend bit her more than a month ago. The bite left her arm bruised – blue, purple and now slightly red.
On her nightstand is a copy of Comfort for the Troubled Christian, by JC Brumfield. Janice says she reads it every night as she tucks herself into a bunk bed at The Salvation Army’s Domestic Violence shelter in Brevard county.
“A friend on the bus gave it to me,” the 43-year-old said. “And I’ve been reading it ever since.”

Janice is one of more than a dozen women and families staying at the 20-bed domestic violence shelter. The shelter opened in 1981 and is one of three Salvation Army domestic violence shelters in the state.

Women and families who find refuge at the shelter are given life skills, attend group counseling sessions and leave empowered.
“Many of the women who come to us blame themselves,” said Cynthia Mitchell, executive director of the program. “We try to help them get control back.”

For the first time in a long time, shelter residents are given choices and given their power back, Mitchell said. Last year the shelter helped nearly 200 Brevard county women. Often the shelter is over capacity, when that happens, Mitchell said, staff members bring in air mattresses – everyone has a bed to sleep on and everyone is safe.

For women like Janice, often the abuse is cyclical. Domestic violence isn’t about finances, despite what people think, Mitchell said.
“It’s about power and control,” she explained. “Women come in to our shelter and they have had their spirit broken, they’ve been terrorized. We just reinforce to them that there is nothing wrong with them and that they are safe.”

For 32-year-old Susan*, the shelter has been a place of safety. Recently she checked in to the shelter for the second time.
The first time, in October 2012, her husband beat her, sent her to a local hospital and while in the emergency room he choked her until police arrived.

“He would have killed me,” Susan said.

On Friday she walked into the shelter again.

“I’ve probably been in a violent relationship my whole life,” she said. “Since childhood, I’ve probably been hit more than 400 times. I just got so used to it.”
The good days – the days when Susan’s husband wasn’t beating her, choking her or threatening her – were the days he was strung out on drugs or hung-over.

“Those were the best days,” she said. “Those were the days I knew I wasn’t going to get beat.”
Susan said her breaking point came when she was staying at another domestic violence shelter and her husband found her.

Student and survivor artwork line the common room at The Salvation Army’s Domestic Violence shelter in Brevard county, Florida.

“But this place,” she said looking around her room, “this place has saved my life.”

Student and survivor artwork line the shelter common room. Artwork with words like “Real Love Feels Safe,” “Be Proud of Yourself” and “No More Tears, The Pain is Over” help to inspire residents.

The shelter also has a partnership with the Sexual Assault Victim Services in Brevard county. When a woman is raped, she is taken the SAVS clinic, which is located at The Salvation Army. Samples are taken by an on call nurse. The clinic is set up like a gynecologist’s office – a bed, stirrups and a place for samples.

Unlike the emergency room where a woman would normally go, there’s a shower and a respite area. Mitchell said it’s a way to bring the survivor more comfort. If she has been abused, she is often admitted into the domestic violence shelter.

Shelter residents can stay at least 45 days, however length of stay varies depending on the needs of the residents and families.
Janice is on day 30.

She is looking for work. She is trying to find a place to live and putting the pieces back together of her shattered life.
But she said, “Sometimes, I wonder, what it would be like to go back to him,” her voice trembles as she gazes toward the JC Brumfield book. “I pray every day I can get a place and make it on my own without him.” *Not her real name.

Dulcinea Cuellar Kimrey is the Divisional Communications Director for The Salvation Army of Florida. She can be reached at [email protected]

DC Auxiliary & L.K. Bennett Fashion Support Single Mothers In Need

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The Ritz Carlton Hotel in McLean, VA was abuzz last Friday afternoon with do-gooders and fashion lovers alike, as The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary of Washington, DC welcomed hundreds of area supporters to its 64th Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon.

Described as “Washington’s compassionate fashion event,” proceeds from the show are supporting the construction of a new learning center at The Salvation Army’s Turning Point Center, a DC-based transitional housing program for single mothers.

Turning Point is designed to steer single mothers to independence, offering case management, counseling services, and intensive classes on budgeting, parenting, job training and housekeeping. In a testament to the need for—and success of—the program, more than three times as many mothers apply as the 26 units at Turning Point can hold. Those who graduate credit the life-skills training above all with preparing them for independent living.

“Thanks to the those sponsors and attendees from the local community, 26 young moms are getting the much needed help they deserve as they work to break the chronic cycle of homelessness and joblessness,” said Major Jacqulyn Reckline, Associate Area Commander of The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command. “The new learning center in place at Turning Point will go a long way to help them on their journey to turn their lives right side up. We are continuing to celebrate God’s blessings upon us.”

Models presented the latest fall and winter couture from exclusive designer, L.K. Bennett of London, noted designer of the coveted nude heels made famous by Kate Middleton. Check out the photos below.

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SA’s very own Mabee Babies shine in the NFL

For those of you who have bravely jumped into the world of Fantasy Football this year and endured the ever so stressful draft, I have something fun to share with you; you may have drafted an NFL star who was once part of The Salvation Army’s team.
Recognize anyone below?

The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Boys & Girls Club

Left: Robert Meachem- A Tulsa native and current wide receiver for the New Orlean Saints. Center: Chris Harris Oklahoma native and starting cornerback for the Denver Broncos. Right: Felix Jones- Tulsa native and Running Back for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Each one of these remarkable athletes once played football at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Boys & Girls Club in Tulsa, OK where they first learned the sport, while also engaging in fellowship, character development, and other educational and recreational opportunities.

The North Mabee club is one of six Salvation Army safe havens in the city where underprivileged children find a sense of belonging and usefulness at the guidance of mentors and coaches.
But moreover, the North Mabee Boys & Girls Club is renowned for its recreation programs, which have proven to produce stars. Statistics recorded by the NFL and by The Salvation Army have revealed that athletes who play football as a member of the North Mabee club are 6.5 times more likely to make it to the NFL than a player from a Division 1 college team..
By the list of names above, I’d say it’s a pretty successful program.

After school programs of The Salvation Army are in full throttle. To volunteer with underprivileged children your area, or to find a center near you, please visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org.

Study reveals Millennials are Charitable, Influential, & Eager to Connect Over a Cause

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Millennials – all 80 million of us – get a bad rap.

If you’re currently between the ages of 18-34, you’re a part of ‘Generation ME’ and collectively called lazy, narcissistic, and impatient. But other characteristics contradict these accusations to some degree: we’re also said to be open-minded, more supportive of equal rights, confident, upbeat, self-expressive, receptive to new ideas, and best of all – giving.

A study called The Millennial Impact reveals the “Me Generation” is actually extremely philanthropic. And this doesn’t include the “slacktivism” that exists on Facebook. But let’s be honest – it felt darn good to Like that dog photo and donate someone else’s money to rescue efforts.

Rather, we look outward rather than inward, relying on the influence of our peers when it comes to taking action. And once we’re inspired, the study reveals that we’ll go to great lengths to get family, friends and loved ones involved in our causes.
Lazy? Selfish? Hardly!

In fact, millennials are compassionate and eager to commit their time, money and skills toward causes and organizations. The study revealed that 75% of millennials donated to charitable causes last year, while 63% gave time to volunteer. While millennials are more likely to donate in smaller amounts across several organizations, they are also apt to fundraise on behalf of nonprofits by soliciting support from friends and family. And when organizations offer volunteer opportunities with limited barriers to entry (remember, we’re impatient), millennials are most likely to give back through events or by freely offering their knowledge and expertise to their charity of choice.

Take The Salvation Army Twin Cities MOST Amazing Race for example, a fundraiser based off of the popular CBS show “Amazing Race,” where teams of two people run around the city making pit stops to complete various challenges. The goal of the race is to raise awareness and funds for The Salvation Army, and commitment and fundraising are prerequisites for competing.

In the end, 30 teams raised $72,921 for food and shelter programs of The Salvation Army through activities such as planking, Bollywood dancing, and plunging off a 25-foot-high platform. And you can be darn sure these events were well documented on participants’ Facebook and Instagram pages.

You often hear that good deeds are rooted in selfishness, and there may be a bit of truth to that, but that’s because giving back feels really, really good. And if you can brag about your good work on Instagram, filter and all, and maybe even inspire your friends to do the same, then what’s the problem?

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Salvationists Sing and Pray for Nelson Mandela

Post courtesy of The Salvation Army International.
 

Nelson MandelaOfficers from The Salvation Army’s Southern Africa Territory sang and prayed outside the hospital in Pretoria where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated. The group – which included territorial leaders Commissioners William and Thalitha Langa – lifted up Mr Mandela in prayer, with Chief Secretary Lieut-Colonel Robert Donaldson asking God to ‘bless the former president and his family’.
 

The officers sang ‘In Thee O Lord do I Put my Trust’ after laying flowers at the hospital gates. Territorial Commander Commissioner William Langa addressed the group of onlookers and media, explaining that The Salvation Army wanted to symbolically show its support to the family of Madiba (as Mr Mandela is affectionately known) and to assure them of the prayers of Salvationists. He paid tribute to Madiba’s struggle to bring freedom and peace to South Africa. The commissioner’s message for the ailing anti-apartheid leader was: ‘Lift up your head, look up to God and be encouraged.’
 

The Chief Secretary called out to God in prayer, saying: ‘You have the future in your hands. You have the future of this nation in your hands and you have the future of the leader of this nation in your hands … bring grace to our former president and all his family. Bless them and encourage them Lord, at this difficult time.’

Volunteers staff Salvation Army Clinic at the University of Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 22, 2013) – It should come as no surprise that “service, caring, and sensitivity to others” are listed among the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s (COM) mission statement and values. Although all UK medical students have dedicated their studies and their futures to helping others, one group is already showing their community the importance of putting service into action.

A group of 20 UK College of Medicine students make up a volunteer team that staffs the University of Kentucky Salvation Army Clinic (SAC), along with supervising physicians. The clinic, located in downtown Lexington at the Salvation Army Center on Main Street, is a free medical clinic and is the oldest community service project run through COM. The mission of the clinic since its founding in 1986 has been to help serve the uninsured population in Lexington by providing free medical services and raising awareness of local health care resources.

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