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

Salvation Army ringer sets 105-hour ring record

world record bell ringing competition

COLTON, Calif.—Salvation Army Maj. Marcelino “Butch” Soriano got a jump on ringing in the New Year this holiday season by ringing a bell for a record 105 consecutive hours outside a Wal-Mart in Colton this week.
The San Diego man’s reward: An estimated $2,700 he raised for charity and his name in the Salvation Army’s bell-ringing record book alongside those of fellow ringers James Brickson of Albert Lea, Minn., and Andre Thompson of Tyler, Texas, who matched him hour-for-hour.

“I feel a little bit tired, not as tired as I thought I would be,” he told UT San Diego ( http://bit.ly/1dZ4MYk) after putting down his ringer at 6 p.m. Saturday. “I’m excited the other people all agreed to stop at the same time, so now we have a three-way tie.”

He had originally planned to go for 100 hours, which would have shattered the old mark of 80 that was set last year. After reaching that mark, he considered ringing on until midnight before reaching agreement with his fellow ringers to stop at 6.

There were six contestants when the competition began Tuesday morning.

The rules allowed each ringer a five-minute break every hour that could be rolled over if they chose. Soriano, 46, would save his up so that he could take a 20-minute nap each day.

He said he never considered stopping, not even after someone stole his laptop before dawn Saturday.

“I’m doing great!” he said later Saturday. “People are coming up to me saying, ‘I saw you on the news, go for it, we know you can do it.'”

see the full article here
Associated Press

Saintly Donor Returns with Signature Kettle Gift

saintly donor
The following was originally posted on The Salvation Army Northern Division’s blog.

St. Grand, the benevolent giver who began stuffing 10 crisp $100 bills in Salvation Army kettles in 2011, has struck again. For the first time this season, a bundle of 10 $100 bills were stuffed into a Twin Cities red kettle at the Byerly’s in Roseville on Friday, Nov. 29.

“How appropriate,” said Major Jeff Strickler, Twin Cities Salvation Army Commander. “We just got the word out that kettles were 25 percent behind from last year and the next day we discover this amazing blessing.”

Strickler was quick to add that it takes those coins and $1 bills on a grand scale to really make this red kettle season successful.

“But it is so exciting for our bell ringers and those counting the money to discover these little bundles of joy,” he said.

St. Grand first broke onto the scene in 2011 and gave a total of 22 gifts in the Twin Cities and one outside the metro area. Last year in 2012 St. Grand was credited with 22 $1,000 gifts, including four in greater Minnesota.

“It really doesn’t matter if this is one person or multiple people,” said Strickler. “It has become legendary for us – an example of selfless giving without recognition.”

 

Posted by Jackie on Thursday, December 5, 2013 ·

Day One Down & Four Remain For World Record!

We are just past  the 24 hour mark of our World Record Bell Ringing contest and four bell ringers are still ringing strong!

This contest raises awareness for The Salvation Army’s 123rd annual Red Kettle Campaign while posing an exciting opportunity to set a new world record.

World Record Bell RingingContestant Andre Thompson of Tyler. TX is still up and going outside in front of Walgreens. He’s very motivated and physically still feels great!

Sprits are looking good so far, “I love this! My body is really holding up well”, says contestant Andre Thompson of Tyler, TX.  “I think the record is mine. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! In the end it’s mind over matter!”

 

 

 

World Record Bell RingingLt. Rob Lawler in Helena, MT is still smiling while ringing in NINE degree whether. Brr!

 

 

 

 

Captain Emily Jones of Compton, CA was the first to hang up her bell around 9:00 p.m  PT. She was ringing outside Walgreens.  The next contestant to lay down his bell was Quinton Green at 4:15 a.m PT. He was ringing outside of Walmart in Hanford, CA.

 

World Record Bell Ringing

We thank Captain Jones and Quinton for their valiant effort raising awareness for The Salvation Army!
Captain James Brickson is bringing joy at Northbridge Mall in Albert Lea. MN.

We are grateful for each of our participants. Their incredible effort will help The Salvation Army provide assistance to millions in need this Christmas and all year round.  So thank you!

 

 

Join in the conversation and support these volunteers with #Ringiton on Twitter.
And don’t’ forget to check back here for updates! Visit: www.Facebook.com/SalvationArmyUSA and www.Twitter.com/SalvationArmyUS for all updates.
Keep up the great work!

Posted by Jackie on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 ·

How Your Kettle Donations Help Families Like “Jack’s”

Akron_Child_holding_Mom_s_hand-2

The following was contributed by Major Mark Brown, Area Commander for The Salvation Army Coastal Alabama Area Command and featured as part of AL.com’s “Neediest Families” Campaign. Visit http://www.al.com/neediest-families/ to read more. 

Surely I had been given the wrong address. Cracked windows, broken blinds and a feeling of abandonment had overtaken the small dwelling. Then the curtain moved. As I got out of my car, the front door scraped open and an elderly man (let’s call him Jack), leaning heavily on his walking cane, beckoned me inside.

I was visiting one of Coastal Alabama’s Neediest Families, a privilege that is mine as commander for area Salvation Army services. I say privilege because I get to meet people at some of the toughest times in their lives and then, through the ministry of The Salvation Army and the generosity of our donors, provide food, clothes, furniture and financial assistance that can make the difference between hopelessness and seeing light at the end of what is often a long, dark tunnel.

I found out later that Jack, a former education department employee, doesn’t invite people inside his home often. I could see why. The only furniture in the house apart from some old beds was a small round coffee table, one adult garden chair and three children’s garden chairs. Jack sat, I stood. Also, Jack was a lot younger than I originally thought. He was taking care of his three young children, three of the brightest, most polite and well-mannered children I have ever met.

Jack’s story is not uncommon. The causes may differ, but the outcomes are similar: A challenging marriage, a low-paying job, fewer hours at work, then disaster. In Jack’s case, his house and all his belongings were destroyed in a fire five years ago. Shortly afterward, he had to quit his job following leg surgery which left him unable to walk or stand except for short periods. Jack receives some money for his disability and he uses this to pay bills and buy food, clothes and the essentials for his children. Replacing the sofa, dining table, chairs and other furnishings destroyed in the fire is simply unaffordable, and so the family eats either sitting on the floor or on their beds. Homework is typically done on the bed.

This past week, just in time for Christmas, we took Jack and his three children a sofa, dining table and chairs. This is why I mentioned earlier what a privilege it is for me to visit with some of our area’s neediest families who are grateful, beyond words, for these unexpected gifts from caring, unknown neighbors in our Coastal Alabama community.

Advice I can recall being given regularly by my mother and grandmother was that there is always someone worse off than me. As a child, I didn’t really understand or benefit from these words of wisdom. As an adult, I see them lived out in our shelters and those seeking welfare assistance from The Salvation Army every day.

You can read their stories at AL.com:

The mother with terminal cancer whose husband left the family just a few weeks after the diagnosis was confirmed.

The young family struggling to get on their feet again following job loss and illness.

The mother of four with a debilitating disease that makes walking a difficulty, yet every day she cooks using a neighbor’s stove and brings the hot food across the busy road to her family.

The single father of two teenage boys working two jobs to make ends meet, who then must be hospitalized.

Or the recently widowed grandmother of an autistic child she is caring for who suddenly needs open-heart surgery following a heart attack just weeks after she spent her savings on her husband’s funeral.

For many reading this, these circumstances will be all too familiar in your own lives or those of family members. Others of us have been spared the distress, worry and uncertainty these circumstances create. We are the fortunate ones.

I’ve been a Salvation Army officer for 35 years. It is a God-given privilege to be the hands and feet of Jesus working with people going through these toughest times.

As I work with men, women and children experiencing crisis situations, I am always encouraged by the words in Matthew 25 where Jesus tells us that whenever we feed the hungry, provide clothing or shelter to a stranger, whenever we take care of someone who is sick or support the prisoner – we do all of this as if for Jesus himself.

To support The Salvation Army’s services for individuals like Jack, visit http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/.

#RingitOn! 6 Bell Ringers Competing for World Record

Celebrating Giving Tuesday, The Salvation Army kicked off the third annual World Record Bell Ringing Contest at 12:00 p.m. EST today.
Six individuals at kettle locations in California, Minnesota, Montana, and Texas are attempting to set a new world record for continuous hand bell ringing by an individual at a red kettle, to help raise awareness for The Salvation Army’s 123rd annual Red Kettle Campaign.

Contestants must brave the elements – such as weather, fatigue, and hunger – while ringing a bell continuously, and are allowed five minutes of rest for every hour of ringing. Last year, two-year reigning champ Darrell Tureskis of Springfield, IL tied the record at 80 hours along with Jason Perkins of Suisun City, CA and Ryan Gass of Roswell, NM.

Here are this year’s brave contestants:

Captain James Brickson: Albert Lea, MN

Ringing at: Northbridge Mall (2510 Bridge Ave. Albert Lea, Mn 56007)  

“For years now we have staffed our kettle locations with 100% volunteer participation, that allows for 100% giving to support the need and it allows for the opportunity to give when a person’s not able to even financially give, volunteer!” said Brickson. “This is not a community that is industrial or flooded with huge factories but we are HUGE with heart, I want to celebrate that.”

 

Captain Emily Jones: Compton, CA

Ringing at: Walgreens (1344 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. Gardena, CA)

Captain Jones wants everyone to know that she believes in the Army’s mission so much that she will stand as long as she can at a kettle in order to raise awareness for the immense need in her community, and to raise funds so the Army can continue to meet those needs!

 

Lt. Rob Lawler: Helena, MT

Ringing at: Walmart (2750 Prospect Ave, Helena, MT 59601)

As a Corps officer for the last 2 ½ years, Rob has been with The Salvation Army since he started volunteering in 1995.
“I feel kettles are one of the most important ways that The Salvation Army story can be told,” said Lawler.

 

Major Marcelino “Butch” Soriano: San Diego, CA

Ringing at: Walmart Supercenter (1120 S Mount Vernon Ave, Colton, CA)

As the Divisional Finance Secretary for the Sierra Del Mar Division of The Salvation Army in California, Soriano was a participant in the World Record Bell Ringing Contest in 2011 and rang for 51 hours at a location in San Francisco. His main purpose for competing is to raise awareness of the mission of The Salvation Army.
He is ringing at a location outside of a metropolitan area this year because The Salvation Army serves in communities that are sometimes forgotten. He loves the Lord and desires to bring honor and glory to His name in all he does.

 

Andre Thompson: Tyler, TX

Ringing at: Walgreens (5415 South Broadway Ave. Tyler, TX 75703)

Andre Thompson, aka “Exalt”, promotes the gospel of Jesus Christ through Gospel Rap. After taking a tour of The Salvation Army’s facility in Tyler, TX, he was spurred to give back in a larger way by volunteering to participate for this contest. He hopes to help raise awareness and money for The Salvation Army in Tyler, and his only request for participation is that God gets all the glory!

The question is: will he rap during the contest? We hope so!

 

Quinton Green: Hanford, CA

Ringing at: Walmart Supercenter (250 S. 12 Ave Hanford, CA 93230)

Originally from Phoeniz, AZ, Quinton is a 19-year old student at the College of Sequoias with a passion for Jesus and people. He sees this challenge as an opportunity to learn and help others in need.

 

 

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You can join in the conversation on Twitter with #RingitOn. Stay tuned here for updates, and check out the conversation on Twitter: www.twitter.com/salvationarmyus. And if you live nearby, we hope you’ll show your support by visiting these contestants at their locations.

**May the best bell ringer win!**

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Emblem3 to Perform at Saturday’s Rock the Red Kettle Concert!

emblem3

We’re excited to announce that Emblem3 will be performing at The Salvation Army’s 4th annual Rock the Red Kettle concert this Saturday Comprised of brothers Keaton and Wesley Stromberg and friend Drew Chadwick, Emblem3’s ambitious trio will help raise awareness of The Salvation Army’s recently-launched Red Kettle Campaign with a performance at Universal CityWalk’s “5 Towers” venue in Los Angeles alongside Kelly Rowland, Coco Jones, Noelle Bean, and headliner Austin Mahone.

The band’s big break came by competing on reality talent show, X Factor before signing to Syco Records label, which released the trio’s debut, “Nothing to Lose,” in July. We’re excited to hear them perform hits off the new album and to get fans excited about giving back this Christmas and throughout the year!

The free concert will take place on December 7 at 5 p.m. PST and be streamed live on the Salvation Army Tumblr page. Get the latest concert info at www.SalvationArmyUSA.tumblr.com and use #RocktheRedKettle to join in! Only five days left…see you in LA!

Walmart & Salvation Army To “Fill the Truck” with Toys for Children in Need

Fill the Truck

Starting this Saturday, November 29, select Walmart stores across the country will kick off the second annual Fill the Truck Toy Drive, which will collect hundreds of thousands of toys for children in need in partnership with The Salvation Army.
Shoppers visiting one of the 3,500 participating stores on November 29, December 7, and December 15 will have the opportunity to drop of new, unwrapped toys at the trucks or bins to be distributed to assist parents in providing joy to their children on Christmas morning.

“Walmart has been such a big supporter of The Salvation Army and we are so appreciative of all the hard work they put into Fill the Truck,” said Major Ron Busroe, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army USA. “This year, Fill the Truck is reaching even more customers and our hope is to provide more children with a Christmas toy that they would not receive otherwise.”

In one day at last year’s inaugural event, generous shoppers donated an amazing 135,000 toys and 10,000 coats for American children in need.

For more than 40 years, Walmart has been an essential partner of The Salvation Army. In addition to these events, the Walmart Foundation – whose mission is to create opportunities so people can live better around the globe – is once again helping us combat hunger through a $1 million donation to support The Salvation Army’s feeding programs, which provide nearly 60 million meals each year to individuals in need.

This Thanksgiving and beyond, The Salvation Army give thanks for Walmart, our valued partner in Doing the Most Good.
See you Saturday!

Read the official press release at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org

Grocery Shopping This Week? Throw a Few More Items in Your Cart for Families in Need

It’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, a week dedicated to awareness, education, homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty as it affects those in our community and world.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this week provides an excellent opportunity to donate a box of canned goods and other nonperishable items to your local Salvation Army to ensure a Thanksgiving meal for a family in need. Visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org for a list of locations near you.

And check out how The Salvation Army will serve communities this Thanksgiving and beyond, thanks to this video provided by The Salvation Army Vision Network (SAVN).

Posted by Megan

Austin Mahone to Headline Fourth Annual Rock the Red Kettle Concert Benefiting The Salvation Army!

Ready for it….
Austin Mahone
We are thrilled to announce that The Salvation Army will host the fourth annual Rock the Red Kettle Concert at Universal City Walk’s “5 Towers” concert venue in Los Angeles on December 7, with performances by musical artists Austin Mahone, Kelly Rowland, Bean, and Coco Jones!

Hosted and produced by Ned Specktor of Specktor Media, the free show helps raise awareness of The Salvation Army’s 123rd annual Red Kettle Campaign, the oldest charitable fundraiser of its kind in the United States. Money raised during the campaign helps the Army serve 30 million of America’s most vulnerable through an array of programs including food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and toys for children.

This year, the free concert will be streamed live on The Salvation Army’s Tumblr page at SalvationArmyUSA.tumblr.com, so you don’t have to miss out if you’re not in the area!

Similar to years past, fans can host their own Online Red Kettles by visiting OnlineRedKettle.org. But this year, the Army is saying thanks in a big way by launching the Rock the Online Red Kettle Team sweepstakes and enlisting the help of the artists to raise funds for a chance to hang out with them in person or via a Google Hangout.

By joining the Online Red Kettle Teams of Mahone, Jones or Bean, three lucky fans will win the chance to fly to Los Angeles with a guest to attend the concert and meet the performers. Eight more participants will win the opportunity to virtually connect with the artists through a Google Hangout before the show.

You can support the Red Kettle Campaign through the artist of your choosing by clicking on the names below: Austin Mahone: www.OnlineRedKettle.org/AustinMahone Coco Jones: www.OnlineRedKettle.org/CocoJones Bean: www.OnlineRedKettle.org/NoelleBean

In addition to giving online or to the more than 25,000 bell ringers found on street corners and retail entrances across the country, supporters can donate through the Army’s text-to-give program. By texting the word “KETTLE” to 80888, donors can send $10 to the Red Kettle Campaign through December 24.

Posted by Megan on Thursday, November 14, 2013 ·