High school junior volunteers extraordinary service during COVID-19 crisis

Jordan Reaves, 17, volunteers many hours in the Hendersonville Corps food pantry.

High school junior volunteers extraordinary service during COVID-19 crisis

By: Major Frank Duracher

Jordan Reaves is a junior attending North Hendersonville High School in North Carolina. But with the onslaught of the COVID-19 crisis, both his school and the store where he worked shut down per orders from the state’s governor.

Sitting at home, he soon realized he was bored and needed something constructive to do.

“I was still studying online, but I still had a lot of free time – too much, in fact,” Jordan, said. So, he decided to volunteer somewhere to help his community cope with the effects physically and psychologically because of the coronavirus.

“My grandmother used to work at The Salvation Army years ago (in the Missing Persons Department at THQ), and I know something of the Army and what they do, so I called the local corps,” he said.

Emily Sherlin, social services director, answered the phone at the Hendersonville Corps. Emily quickly accepted Jordan’s offer to volunteer as much as he was needed.

Jordan jumped right into the Army’s response to COVID-19, packing food boxes, unloading trucks laden with food donations and repackaging fresh fruit and vegetables.

“He also did a lot of menial stuff around the corps building, like cleaning toilets and trimming bushes,” said Major Brian Gilliam, corps officer. “Jordan really did anything we asked him to do!”

“It felt so good everyday to see the relief on people’s faces when we helped them,” Jordan said. “I knew they were happy, and that made me happy.”

Jordan said that he will especially remember one client’s response when he handed a food box to the young mother.

“She tearfully looked up at me, and it was a very touching moment for both of us,” he said.

“Jordan is quite refreshing, in that he sought out an opportunity to serve people in his community,” Major Gilliam said. “Such character and self-motivation are rare these days. I am encouraged by his thinking of others beyond himself, especially with his work ethic and willingness to do whatever is needed.”

Jordan’s plan after graduation next year is to attend medical school at Duke – possibly with a future in surgery, “because I like to work with my hands.”


Where pandemic isolates, The Salvation Army steps in

Where pandemic isolates, The Salvation Army steps in

The Salvation Army in the Southern Territory mobilizes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. As families face sudden joblessness and financial crises, and vulnerable homeless residents seek shelter from the disease, corps and commands come up with creative ways to serve people in need and welcome stepped-up support from their community partners.

Nashville, Tennessee: Salvation Army Social Services Director April Calvin (left) and LifNav Outreach Coordinator Tiffany Ladd pick up items to deliver for the Nashville Command’s encampment program. The outreach provides food and supplies to some of the community’s most vulnerable neighbors. Regular visits are being made to homeless encampments across the city “to fill a hole in the service safety net that has developed due to COVID-19,” Major Ethan Frizzell, Nashville area commander, told NewsChannel5, Nashville. “We know that it is important for everyone to shelter at home, and this includes our neighbors experiencing homelessness. By bringing resources directly to them, we can help them in following the CDC safety guidelines.”

Rome, Georgia: The Salvation Army Corps gave “a huge virtual hug” on Facebook April 30 to the Berry Alumni Virtual Work Week Face Mask Crew. More than 150 beautiful and comfortable masks were delivered to the corps, providing a measure of safety for our staff, guests and neighbors. “Thank you for your servant’s heart,” the corps said.

Richmond, Virginia: Every Wednesday, the Central Virginia Area Command partners with AT&T and Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods in providing over 1,200 meals in the region for first responders. The first round went out April 22 to Bon Secours Richmond Health SystemVCU Health and the Richmond Police Department. Through a generous donation from AT&T, funding will also support meals from local restaurants to provide nourishment for Chesterfield County Fire and EMS.

Fort Worth, Texas: Residents at The Salvation Army’s Mabee Center wanted a project that would keep them busy while also helping others during the COVID-19 lockdown. They have now hand-made over 75 masks to help keep Mabee Center residents, staff and community protected.

Charleston, West Virginia: The Salvation Army thanks the United Way and Cabin Creek Health Systems for working together to feed 150 families April 29 in Dawes, West Virginia. “We ran out of food, so we will be coming back soon to make sure everyone is fed!” the corps said in a Facebook posting.

Bowling Green, Kentucky: A recent distribution of food boxes at The Salvation Army Corps met the needs of 219 families and 649 individuals. The corps thanks the generous contributions of Bowling Green and area communities for helping to make this distribution possible.

Savannah, Georgia: The One Hundred Children’s Foundation donated books April 23 to The Salvation Army Community Center for children who receive meals or in the corps’ after-school or summer programs. Their mission is to promote the health, education and well-being of children through financial support of child-focused outreach programs in Coastal Empire of Georgia and South Carolina. The Education Committee works year-round on opportunities to put books in children’s hands. Members enjoy reading to the children as well. “We are so thankful to them! It’s donations like these that keep our programs running and help us serve the community,” the corps said in a Facebook posting.


Videos give toddlers a fun way to memorize Scripture

Videos give toddlers a fun way to memorize Scripture

By: David Ibata

Like many inspirations for ministry in The Salvation Army, Bethany Farrell’s arose from a need she saw in her own family: A way to encourage young children to memorize Scripture. Given the shelter-at-home and social distancing mandates of the COVID-19 outbreak, it would have to be virtual.

“I wanted to help my preschoolers memorize daily Scripture passages with some semblance of organization and structure. We’re all about the ABCs right now, so it just made sense to start there,” said Farrell, Southern Territory creative arts director. “I knew that if my family needed this encouragement during this time, other families would, too.”

So, Farrell and her coworkers at territorial headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, started producing “The ABC Scripture Memory Challenge with Ms. Bethany,” 26-plus short videos based on Bible passages and the alphabet and posted to YouTube and other social media. The series debuted the first week of May.

“We have created a special Scripture memory verse challenge especially for the tiniest people in your house – preschoolers, toddlers, those who are full of energy and running around your house right now and are capable and willing and ready to start learning Scripture,” Farrell said in an introductory video. “If you stick with us through the rest of the month, you’ll see a lot of fun and friendly faces who are going to share Scripture verses with you and challenge your kids to memorize them.”

“A,” for example, stands for, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7); “B,” “Be kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32); “C,” “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Psalms 55:22), and so forth. Click here to view the videos.

“These will help kids through these scary times, and their parents as well,” Farrell said, noting that as adults work through the verses with their youngsters, they can’t help but also learn them. “There will be the 26 letters and an occasional review. We’ve asked parents to send us videos of their children reciting the verses they’ve learned, and we’ll share those videos in the reviews.”

Each episode runs for less than two minutes, with five segments and a review going up each week for a total run of five weeks. Farrell enlisted creative arts people around the Southern and Eastern territories and co-workers in the territorial Youth and Music departments to also “star” in the videos – “people who are enthusiastic and who love the word of God and teaching it to children.”

The feedback has been positive, not only from families with young children, but adults who enjoy seeing Scripture communicated in an enthusiastic way.

“Another way this resource is being used is through digital corps programming,” Farrell said. “One example of this is the Atlanta Temple Corps, which uses these videos in their virtual youth meet-ups each week to encourage Scripture memorization.”

When the current series is finished, Farrell said, “after a little while, we may want to do Round Two, to give kids new verses to learn. Someone recommended a musical version, too. We’ll see as this comes to fruition what happens and what we might do in the future.”

The purpose of this outreach is to bring to families peace and confidence in the Lord. “They’ll come out of quarantine richer, because they’ll have the word of God in the hearts and minds.”


The Salvation Army Continues to Meet Substantial Need Caused by COVID-19

Atlanta, GA: The Salvation Army continues to respond around the globe to meet the substantial need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Southeastern United States, communities are coming together for the greater good.

In Collier County, Florida, The Salvation Army recently provided assistance at a COVID-19 testing site. Three days of COVID-19 testing were administered by the National Guard and, in coordination with Collier County Emergency Services and the Health Department, The Salvation Army set up within the Collier County Public Library to provide assistance through meal service. In tandem with Three60, a local market, The Salvation Army served 420 meals, in addition to Gatorade and other snacks, while more than 1,000 COVID-19 tests were administered to local residents.

Earlier in May, a combination of Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers in Atlanta, Georgia partnered with a local retail center, as well as Telemundo and the local food bank in putting together a substantial food giveaway. Pre-packaged food was distributed, and the Salvation Army made contact with more than 500 households, distributing copies of Cultura de alabanza, a Spanish-language album produced through The Salvation Army’s Soundcast network of audio programs. In addition, brochures including details on worship services at the Atlanta International corps, as well as information on emergency financial assistance and food pantry offerings were disseminated.

The Salvation Army is stepping in to provide aid for local youth in opening a daycare center at the Mabee Red Shield Boys & Girls Club in Metropolitan Tulsa, Oklahoma. The location is two-star certified with Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services, allowing operation in this capacity, and the building is cleaned every hour. In addition, masks are provided to follow CDC guidelines and wellness checks occur as children arrive. Youth enjoy a variety of educational and recreational programming, including the use of a computer lab, gymnasium and art room.

Part of a series of Blog Posts written by Brad Rowland, Staff Writer, Southern Spirit Newspaper

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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Salvation Army delivers surprises to Cumberland kids

Salvation Army delivers surprises to Cumberland kids

By: David Ibata

Weeks had gone by in Cumberland, Maryland, since Victoria Leasure and Katherine Lick had last seen the children in The Salvation Army’s after-school program. So, to break the monotony, they loaded up “Big Blue,” the corps van, with a surprise for the kids and their families and took off.

“We wanted to do something for our kids since we cannot have programming due to COVID-19,” said Lick, who with Leasure runs the After-School Klub (A.S.K.) program for youngsters in kindergarten through fifth grade. “We decided to put together an activity box.”

Each box contained crayons, markers, colored pencils, a coloring box, a notebook, a couple fun pencils, a game (some got card games, and others, board games), chalk, loom bracelet kits, a Mother’s Day craft, balls, puzzles, paint activity, glowsticks and fun snacks. “Some boxes contained a slight variation depending on the age or gender of the child,” Lick said.

On Wednesday, May 6, Lick and Leasure delivered one activity box each to 27 families, for a total of 36 children, and a second box of non-perishable food for each household. They then uploaded photos of children and gifts to the corps Facebook page.

“We know how sad quarantine can make you feel, and we hope all our A.S.K. kids have brighter, happier days with their surprise boxes,” they posted to Facebook. “We can’t wait to see you all again, when the time comes.”


The Salvation Army Midland Food Distribution at East St. Louis Community Center

ST. LOUIS, May 18, 2020 – The Salvation Army, the nation’s largest social services organization with more than 7,600 service locations across the country, is increasing efforts to meet human need. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has evolved service delivery to ensure that immediate needs of community members, first responders, and government partners are met. 

The Salvation Army Midland Division is working closely with state agencies to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain in regular communication with local emergency management agencies and managers in local communities throughout the Midland Division, which includes Missouri and Southern Illinois. 

The Salvation Army staff and volunteers will distribute pre-packed food boxes and cleaning supplies to the public 9am-4pm on Saturday, May 23rd at The Salvation Army St. Clair County, East St. Louis Community Center 616 N 16thSt., East St. Louis.

This distribution was made possible by The COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, Edgewell Personal Care, Emerson, St. Louis Community Foundation, Tarlton, The Staenberg Group and the United Way.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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Carolinas Youth Department honors achievements in virtual awards presentation

Carolinas Youth Department honors achievements in virtual awards presentation

By: Brad Rowland

Through the power of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other virtual outlets, Salvation Army officers and employees are able to effectively communicate and interact with soldiers, volunteers and youth even during the challenging days plagued by COVID-19. In the North and South Carolina Division, one fallout of the pandemic is the cancellation of youth councils, an event that many look forward to each year.

While the weekend is packed with excitement, fellowship and worship, youth councils also brings an opportunity for the divisional staff to hand out awards to both young people and leaders for their spectacular achievements during the year. In order to execute that vision under different circumstances, the NSC Youth Department used inspiration from a popular web series and put their own twist on it, creating a virtual awards ceremony featuring upscale attire and tangible production value.

“We were kind of inspired by John Krasinki’s ‘Some Good News’ broadcasts that he’s been doing, and of course they are very popular,” said Daynes Crouch, divisional Christian education director. “One of the editions had a virtual senior prom with people all dressed up, and (divisional creative arts director) Caitlin Allen took it from there with some of the logistics and the fancier aspects to make it special for our youth.”

The ceremony was pre-recorded through Zoom in order to present it in well-edited, polished fashion. However, the entire gathering was recorded while each staff member and officer was operating from their own home, with the exception of a small handful of awards that were actually hand-delivered and captured on video for sharing within the ceremony itself.

“We got some great feedback and I think our kids really enjoyed the opportunity to kind of escape, be recognized and have their friends and leaders be recognized,” Crouch said. “One of my favorite examples is a filmed reaction by one of our youth leaders that received an award. She was so shocked when we read her name and it was very sweet to see.”

In addition to this virtual awards presentation, the divisional team is reaching out to its youth in various ways, ranging from young adult gatherings on Zoom to newsletters, opportunities for music and arts engagement through virtual performances, and daily devotionals shared through social media channels. Still, this singular touch was meaningful to many in the division, with the chance to “attend” a high-end ceremony, all from the comfort of home.

“I think, with everything happening around us, awards weren’t necessarily on everyone’s mind, but it was a nice recognition to put out there for people,” said Crouch. “We wanted to celebrate people and let them know they aren’t forgotten, even if we can’t fully do it in person the way we might want. Overall, it was a really nice way to show appreciation for the youth in our division.”

The full awards ceremony can be viewed below.


Healthcare heroes ministered to by prayer warrior

Healthcare heroes ministered to by prayer warrior

By: Major Frank Duracher

During this COVID-19 pandemic, doctors, nurses and paramedics have emerged as dauntless heroes, risking their own health and that of their families. So, it may be easy to forget that they are human too – very fearful and in need of physical, emotional and spiritual comfort.

Major Myrtle Kitchen, a retired officer and longtime volunteer for The Salvation Army in Greenville, South Carolina, apparently realized that fact when paramedics were called to her home in response to symptoms of high blood pressure and the onset of a possible stroke.

“I could see the fear in their eyes,” Major Kitchen said. “This was in the first days of social distancing, and our state had just gone into lockdown. Here I am, a high-risk candidate for the virus for several health reasons, and no one was really aware of what all this meant.”

The major says that while the paramedics were wearing masks and gloves for their protection, their eyes betrayed their fear of the unknown.

“So, I witnessed to them” even while the paramedics were preparing her for transport in the ambulance.

Arriving at the emergency room, Major Kitchen was met by an eerie sight: this was the first day of shutdown for non-emergency treatments, and the entire ER was dark, save for the nurses’ station and one trauma bay prepared to treat her.

She later learned she was the first patient seen in that hospital after the governor’s statewide order went into effect.

“A doctor and a nurse came into my room to take care of me,” she said, “as the paramedics were about to leave.”

Still seeing the fear in their eyes, now as well as the doctor and nurse, Major Kitchen asked if she could pray with the little group before the paramedics left.

“Please do,” they all agreed.

“I started praying from God’s Word, for our nation, for a cure of this virus and a great awakening of God’s people.”

As she prayed, she rebuked the spirit of fear that seemed so strong over the hospital, and that God would be with these dedicated, compassionate workers who believed in the saving of lives – even at the risk of their own and their family’s health.

“When I opened my eyes after finishing my prayer, I was a bit stunned to see over a dozen medical personnel had joined us in that curtained room to be blessed by this prayer,” she said, still amazed.

“A doctor at the foot of my bed was even holding onto the toes of my shoes, praying her heart out!”

Tests were soon done, eliminating a stroke but showing that her high blood pressure was dangerously high. She was transported to the ICU located on the third floor.

“The scene in the ICU can only be described as chaotic,” she said. “Everyone was running around with the same fear in their eyes I had been noticing, so during the four days I was there I prayed over each one who had a part in treating me.”

Incredibly, she recalled, no one responded negatively when she offered to pray for them and their family!

“They are the real heroes during this crisis, and we can all be prayer warriors on their behalf.”


The Salvation Army Serves First Responders Battling Wildfire in Southwest Florida

NAPLES, FL (May 15, 2020) – The Salvation Army is responding to a local wildfire by providing hydration, snacks, lunch, and dinner to approximately 250 first responders.

Two wildfires broke out on Wednesday, May 13th in the Golden Gate community in central Collier County, Florida, west of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.

“These are severely dangerous wildfires exhibiting extreme fire behavior, so everyone in the affected area should follow directions from state and local officials,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in an update from the Florida Forest Service. “All residents and travelers should heed evacuation orders and closely monitor the media for updates on the wildfire and the status of I-75 and local roads. We thank our brave local and wildland firefighters for working swiftly to control this wildfire.”

Due to their close proximity, the wildfires are now being reported as one fire, the 36th Avenue SE Fire. As of May 15, the fire is estimated at 8,500 acres and 10% contained.

“It is our privilege to stand alongside these heroes who are working day and night to keep our community safe,” says Corps Officer Captain Ben Bridges. Video updates of The Salvation Army’s service can be found here.

In addition to these efforts, The Salvation Army continues to provide ongoing care in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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Tell Me Something Good

Tell Me Something Good

By: Meagan Hofer

We are back again with some stories that will surely brighten your day as we slowly find our new normal. While it can be easy to focus on the negative, there is SO much good happening around us!

Here are just a few stories that have made me smile, and I hope they do the same for you!

Be encouraged friends! This is hard, but you are not alone. God’s got us.