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Charlotte’s Belmont club gets lunch, surprise visit from golf star Rory McIlroy

Charlotte’s Belmont club gets lunch, surprise visit from golf star Rory McIlroy

It’s not every day that a kid gets to speak with one of the top athletes in the world on FaceTime. But Boys & Girls Club members from the Belmont Avenue Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, had the chance to chat with professional golfer Rory McIlroy this week, as he took time out of his schedule at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte to check in on the club’s kids.

In celebration of his 30th birthday, McIlroy and his corporate partner Optum provided healthy lunches for Belmont Avenue Club members on Wednesday, May 1. The call was an added treat, as the kids had the opportunity to ask the world-famous golfer a few questions and sing him “Happy Birthday.” McIlroy finished the tournament tied for eighth place on the leaderboard.

The healthy lunches were a part of McIlroy’s and Optum’s effort to support and encourage children to participate in the Boys & Girls Club Healthy Choices program. The Healthy Choices program emphasizes good nutrition, regular physical activity and improving overall well-being. McIlroy and Optum provided approximately 500 lunches for all Charlotte Boys & Girls Club locations on May 1.

“Someone once told me, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see,’ so having Rory come into our environment gives the kids here the opportunity to see something new that they might aspire to or enjoy as a hobby,” said Major Larry Broome, Charlotte area commander. “We are so thankful to Optum and Rory for this. I think he’ll have a lot of new young fans cheering him on through the championship.”

Source: southernspiritonline.org

New Bern, N.C., Corps fights the good fight to return to facility

New Bern, N.C., Corps fights the good fight to return to facility

By: Brad Rowland

When Hurricane Florence made landfall in mid-September, it was the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the Carolinas. Thousands of people were displaced and billions of dollars of property damage ensued. The Salvation Army responded with widespread deployment in the area of emergency disaster service.

That work continued for weeks and months but, in New Bern, North Carolina, the Army’s work was directly affected by storm damage to its facilities. The corps building was flooded more than four feet deep, essentially wiping out the entirety of its interior. The Family Store adjacent to the property also sustained considerable flooding damage. In a different part of the city, roof damage occurred to another Family Store – and, thus, multiple plates were spinning for Captain Curtis Kratz, corps officer, and those tasked with continuing the work in the region.

Because of the damage to the corps building, regular church activities were forced to relocate while the facility could be reassessed, leaving Captain Kratz and his staff searching for options. Fortunately, through an advisory board connection, a temporary worship location was donated by Thomas Development, Inc. (TDI) in the form of a storefront. Though the original plan was to house the corps in that location for three months, construction delays resulted in another three months of waiting. Still, the facility proved to be more than adequate, with youth programming continuing in the space and Sunday morning worship convening each week.

Elsewhere, The Salvation Army’s administrative offices avoided substantial storm damage, which proved pivotal in continuing social service delivery. The building also housed youth Sunday school activities, with children gathering at the temporary corps location and busing to the administrative building, only to be brought back for traditional worship.

“In other appointments, the corps building and the social services were under the same roof and, in New Bern, that isn’t the case,” said Captain Kratz. “Originally, I didn’t like that but, after the hurricane, I was praising God and overwhelmingly thankful that it wasn’t set up that way here.”

By early April, the corps family was able to move back into its newly renovated facility. A full dedication and anointing of the structure is planned for the future when furniture and accommodations are fully installed. In the meantime, however, The Salvation Army continues to provide a spiritual home for many and serve the community, despite the challenges posed by Hurricane Florence’s devastation.

“There was some frustration because, when we wanted to be serving people and doing what we’re called to do, we were dealing with the issues from being displaced,” Captain Kratz said. “But we’re still here, back up and running, and ready to serve in the best way possible with a new normal.”

Source: southernspiritonline.org

The Salvation Army Mobilizes for Flood Assistance in Texas

Freeport, Texas

The Salvation Army Freeport Corps is responding to flooding across Brazoria County, Texas. Residents are still dealing with massive flooding after the area was drenched during last week’s storms. “The County Emergency Manager asked us to be prepared to assist and we have our teams out providing a hot meal and a word of encouragement” stated Freeport Corps Officer Captain Justin Vincent. The Freeport Corps has expanded its normal community feeding programs to include those who are able to come to the Corps for their meals along with roving canteen services in other areas of the county.  Vincent added, “We have our shelter prepared to receive additional guests that are coming to us from the affected areas. Some homes have reported as much as 5′-6′ of water”

Many of the residents are still recovering from  2016  river flooding when the Brazos River was reported at nearly 12 ft over its normal levels. “We see many weather related events across Texas this time of year and we are prepared to respond quickly when there is a need. We are in prayer for all the families that have been affected” ” stated Divisional Disaster Services Director Alvin Migues. 

For more information on The Salvation Army’s current disaster response efforts or to donate please go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Source: disaster.salvationarmyusa.org 

Yoga classes are flying high at the Kroc Center of Memphis

Yoga classes are flying high at the Kroc Center of Memphis

By: David Ibata

Is “aerial yoga” a passing fad or the next big fitness option? One or the other, it’s generating plenty of buzz for The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

“It’s a lot of fun,” instructor Katie Veach said. “People enjoy the inversion part of the class; that is what makes it a unique challenge. In most fitness and yoga classes, you don’t have the ability to go upsidedown.”

In April, the Kroc Center in Memphis became one of the first in the area to offer VATA Aerial Yoga. A New York Times article of 2011 credits the idea, also known as “suspension yoga” and “anti-gravity yoga,” to “Christopher Harrison, a former aerial acrobat and gymnast who found traditional yoga too hard on his injured wrists.”

To teach it, Kroc Center staffers completed certified instructor training from YogaBody, an international yoga education center and seller of yoga trapezes, accessories and other supplies. Veach, who also is health and recreation director at the Kroc Center, said the trapeze “is like a hammock or a sling, and has handles. It’s a cool and unique apparatus.”

The Kroc Center introduced VATA aerial yoga in April during a spring promotion of new health and wellness programs. One-hour classes meet twice a week; monthly workshops also are offered. The additional-fee program has a drop-in rate of $8 a session or $40 a month. Kroc Center members with studio passes have unlimited access.

Currently, about 20 people a week participate – women and some men, as young as 16 and as old as in their 60s. Classes have an average attendance of eight; one-on-one training also is available. Students meet in the third-floor Challenge Center, where the functional training area can be found. “We already had mounts for TRX straps, so we just had to add more hooks,” Veach said.

“People are really excited about it,” she said. “I’ve talked to someone about it every day since we launched the program. Our own Kroc staff has expressed interest and participated in the class during office hours. Both our members and employees have really taken to it, faster than any other programs we’ve added.”

Participants quickly come to appreciate the stress relieving aspect of hanging upside-down.

“It’s inversion therapy,” Veach said, “which provides instant traction to the spine to relieve back pain, allows for flexibility for deeper backbends and shoulder openers, and trains functional strength to the core and full body.”

“Right now, it’s an open-level class. We don’t have beginner or advanced levels yet; we’ll see if we want to add that after we’ve gained more exposure.”

The sky is the limit for the Kroc Center of Memphis.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

Soldiers have a role to play in Pathway of Hope

Soldiers have a role to play in Pathway of Hope

By: David Ibata

A woman enrolled in the Pathway of Hope has lost her children to the state and is working on her life skills to get them back, but visitation is far away and she doesn’t have a car. She knows you’re a Salvation Army soldier, and she asks if you can give her a ride. What would you do?

“The first answer would be, don’t do that; there are Safe From Harm issues,” said Major April Taylor, corps officer in Waco, Texas. “A corps officer would speak to this person and see if we can get her the services she needs.”

That’s a lesson one might encounter in “Soldiers Along the Pathway of Hope,” a complementary training program developed by the Texas Division.

Pathway is unique in that it intentionally integrates pastoral care and social services for families that request the support. Soldiers – the frontline troops of a corps – can play an important role.

“We want the soldiery to be involved,” said Taryn Piatkowski, Pathway of Hope divisional specialist for Texas. Just as case workers help people meet physical needs – for food, shelter, budgeting, job finding and other necessities – “The Salvation Army has the internal resources, through the corps, to meet spiritual and emotional needs.”

“The pushback we got from case workers was that while it’s great to have more volunteers, they’d need to be trained in the ethics, confidentiality and boundaries of working with vulnerable families,” Piatkowski said.

Hence, Soldiers Along the Pathway of Hope, an idea developed by Piatkowski; Kim Ogilvie, divisional social services director; and Major Anthony Juliana, divisional program secretary.

There’s the desire to “put the mission and ministry” of The Salvation Army – the WHY of sharing the gospel message – “back in the hands of the soldiers,” Major Juliana said. And, the need among Pathway clients “for a connection, an anchor,” to a caring community.

“We understand in the Army that corps officers are the passing parade – we’re the ones who leave and change appointments from time to time – but our soldiers are the ones who stick around,” Major Juliana said. “Families have a tendency to connect with families, and individuals, with individuals. We said, why don’t we connect our Pathway of Hope families with families in the congregation?”

The Texas Division ran a pilot session with 15 soldiers from the Waco Corps last October. A second session was held in February at local officers council at Camp Hoblitzelle, Texas. The training was so well received, Texas was requested to present it as an offering in April at The Salvation Army National Social Services Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

To guide Pathway clients from crisis to sufficiency, Major Taylor said, “the first place to start is the corps. That’s an already created community of supportive believers who can come around to an individual, at their choice, to support them and help them through the struggles they may have.”

Training helps soldiers understand a Pathway client’s life challenges, the things out of the client’s control, and the parameters for coming alongside – “what they should and should not be doing to assist a person going through this reorientation back to self-sufficient living,” Major Taylor said.

Or, she added, “how to be involved without being too involved.”

It’s too easy, when trying to help, to fall into the trap of co-dependency. For example, a person may come to the corps in need of milk for their family. Your initial response might be to offer to buy them a gallon of milk. That’s well and good; but the next time, the client may come saying they’re out of diapers and baby food. Eventually, they may start asking for money.

What to do instead? “Let them have a conversation with the corps officer,” Major Taylor said. “It could be a simple solution, perhaps a referral. An officer can judge if there’s a dependency.”

Working collaboratively with the social services team, a corps can provide a strong team of support to help a family achieve their goals.

Tyler Stevenson, a Waco Corps soldier who attended the training with his wife Laura, said it helped them see “how we as a church can help with this Pathway of Hope thing we’re going to be doing in the community, and what we can do as a congregation to help the corps officers.”

“Now that we’ve been through this training, I’m able to give people the information they need, where they need to go, who they can talk to, and the resources readily available to help them” – from rental assistance to housing to the food pantry, Stevenson said.

In the example of the Pathway mother without a car – it really did happen, in Waco – corps members invited her to a young adult Bible study. Through this outreach, Major Taylor said, “she was finding people she could talk to about her situation and about choices – helping her make better choices in a better community group of peers than she had previously.”

“Positive peer groups and positive people at The Salvation Army are lifting her up, offering her prayer and support, and helping her find a community where she’s accepted for who she is.”

Source: southernspiritonline.org

USA South welcomes Chief of Staff

USA South welcomes Chief of Staff

By: Christopher Priest

Commissioners Lyndon and Bronwyn Buckingham were welcomed by the USA South in a visit in late April that took them to the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi and Georgia divisions.

Chief of the Staff Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham and Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham, world secretary for women’s ministries, began their visit as guest speakers for the quarterly meetings of the National Advisory Board in Birmingham, Alabama. The visit coincided with the Birmingham Area Command Annual Dinner attended by over 500 local supporters of the Army’s work and witness. In his dinner address, Commissioner Buckingham spoke of how the NAB event had energized them, highlighting the importance of advisors to the Army’s mission. He talked of meeting people with sincerity, passion, commitment, integrity, expertise and intelligence. He paid tribute to all Salvation Army advisory board members and other volunteers within the USA who give tirelessly to advance the mission. He called for all believers to always “Look Up!” fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

In Jackson, Mississippi, a capacity congregation assembled in the Jackson Citadel Corps building for the ALM Divisional Soldiers Rally. Music and creative arts were interspersed around prayer and testimony. Commissioners Buckingham enthusiastically enrolled 15 junior soldiers and 21 soldiers. In his address, Commissioner Buckingham referenced Paul’s letter to Thessalonica. He challenged the congregation with Paul’s challenge to the new church that as new Christians, all have a growing reputation – a model and example to the world. News of these early Christians was spreading everywhere. This was evidenced by the extent and furthering of their faith, their hope in Christ, the capacity of their love for the Lord and one another, and their anointing by the Holy Spirit. Public decisions were recorded as those responded to the call of Christ on their lives.

At “The World for God” meeting attended by the Georgia Division, THQ and Evangeline Booth College officers and cadets from both sessions, the Chief of the Staff visualized for those gathered the state of the Army, now in 131 countries. Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham shared Scripture, and in her testimony highlighted the vision and planning for greater ministries for and by women in the future. A composite band, timbrel brigade and songsters blessed those present, and the Holy Spirit descended as the chief of the staff used 2 Corinthians 2:14 to capture the essence or aroma of Christ in this challenging world.

“It’s the aroma and fragrance of Christ that we Salvationists need to obtain. You are to be that aroma of Christ in your community,” he said. “Be the flavor of God in the world! In his presence, for his glory, and at his disposal.”

Christopher Priest is the Southern territorial director of communications.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

Salvation Army Joins Partners at NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour Stop in Charlotte

Charlotte, NC – It’s not every day that you hear “Charlotte” and “hurricane” in the same sentence. It certainly was the case 30 years ago, when Hurricane Hugo devastated the Charlotte area. And, then again, last week, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Awareness Tour made one of its five stops at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

The Salvation Army, represented by NSC Division and Charlotte Area Command, were on hand, alongside other emergency personnel and disaster relief agencies to talk to guests about hurricane forecasting, preparedness and disaster response.

The highlights of the Tour stop, which was popular among local school groups, weather aficionados and young families, were the hurricane hunter aircraft – the United States Air Force WC-130 and the NOAA P-3 Orion. The latter is the same aircraft that flew through Hurricane Florence last year and Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

These aircraft, and the meteorologists who work aboard them, are critical in collecting data that helps with forecasting and preparedness in advance of a storm’s landfall.

But, landfall is only the beginning of a storm’s impact. The focus of the discussion in Charlotte trended toward the next stage of the storm.

“What happens when the storm goes inland,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham told The Charlotte Observer. “I think we’ve done a good job of educating about the coastal impacts. But the inland impacts … that’s a big issue for us.”

In the aftermath of recent storms that impacted the Carolinas, such as Hurricane Florence and Michael, The Salvation Army of North and South Carolina has witnessed firsthand this inland impact. Crews from across North and South Carolina were deployed to some of the hardest hit areas.

With its network of trained disaster staff and volunteers already on the ground when disaster strikes, The Salvation Army is ready to assist immediately to provide support (food, hydration, clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and emotional and spiritual care) to first responders and survivors. This is important given that many areas become inaccessible due to rising floodwaters inland.

“Many people don’t realize that 83 percent of fatalities related to tropical weather systems are due to inland flooding,” Graham said. Many of those deaths occur when individuals drive into high water.

The major key to preventing fatalities during these tropical systems is educating the public about disaster preparedness and the dangers associated with flooding.

That’s what the Hurricane Awareness Tour is all about – providing an opportunity for people to learn about what goes into forecasting storms and how we can use this information to keep families safe.

And, if the unspeakable does happen, residents and first responders in those communities can trust that The Salvation Army will be there to speak hope.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Source: disaster.salvationarmyusa.org 

Salvation Army Center of Hope back up and running again in Daytona

Salvation Army Center of Hope back up and running again in Daytona

By: Brad Rowland

When Hurricane Matthew made landfall in 2016, The Salvation Army of Daytona Beach, Florida, sustained damage to its Center of Hope, specifically in the form of roof issues and broken windows. With that said, the structure managed to escape without catastrophic impairment. The arrival of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, however, did cause significant problems.

Though Daytona Beach was not struck directly by the storm in a way that neighboring areas were affected, storm surge flooded the Center of Hope’s first floor after a full evacuation had taken place in the area. As a result, the Army was unable to return to the building, and programming – including social services, dormitories and a computer lab – was displaced.

After more than a year of obstacles and a gradual period of re-acclimation, however, the Center of Hope reopened in January 2019 and a rededication of sorts took place in late March. The newly-minted building includes space for a renovated social services office, veterans programming, Pathway of Hope, residential services, job training and a food pantry.

“With the resources that we had, we kind of gave the building a facelift,” said Major Caleb Prieto, corps officer. “The comments we received at the open house were very encouraging. I think it looks amazing and that was backed up by the feedback. Not only were we able to restore what we had previously, but I think we’re in the best place we’ve been.”

The arrival of Irma and the damage sustained forced the Army’s social services efforts into a time of transition and flexibility. A partnership was struck with a local hotel to house residents displaced by the building closure and, while service delivery had to operate at less than full capacity, both the corps building and additional space at the hotel were turned into offices equipped with the tools to perform case management and other essential activities.

The period of displacement wasn’t navigated without hiccups, including a partnership in concert with the Department of Corrections that was placed on hold due to the structural challenges. Still, the community rallied around the work of The Salvation Army during a trying time, and the future is bright as a result.

Source: southernspiritonline.org

The Salvation Army Helps Multiple Communities Affected by Recent Storms

May 11, 2019 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Salvation Army of Arkansas and Oklahoma is providing emergency disaster services after a series of severe storms have impacted the two states since April 30.   A State of Emergency has been declared for over 70 counties across Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Flooding is becoming an issue in many areas of both states due to the amount of rain received over the past several weeks.

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

A tornado was reported in Pine Bluff on Wednesday causing major damage to an apartment complex where several residents lost everything.  The Salvation Army of Pine Bluff provided emotional and spiritual care to over 30 individuals as well as a hydration station for the responders and residents affected by the storm.   They will continue to work with community partners to identify and address further needs.   Without available lodging, Mayor Shirley Washington requested The Salvation Army’s assistance with providing shelter for 14 displaced individuals over the weekend.  

“Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the tornado, said Captain Chwight Olige, Pine Bluff Salvation Army Commanding Officer.  “We are prepared to serve meals and provide clothing vouchers and emotional and spiritual support.  We are here for the community.”

Pittsburg County, Oklahoma

The Salvation Army of Muskogee provided approximately 400 meals to survivors of storms which crossed two counties on April 30 and May 1.   The Salvation Army is participating in the MARCs (Multi-Agency Resource Centers) in Haileyville and Blue, Oklahoma.

“It was a privilege to be able to drive around the community offering a bottle of water or lemonade and provide a meal.  It was a beautiful reminder that when things get hard, you can lean on those around you to help you get through it.  Everyone was willing to help their neighbor.  It was humbling to provide a pat on the back or offer a word of prayer,” says Risa Robinson, who serves as Evangelistic Youth Outreach Director at The Salvation Army of Muskogee.          

The Salvation Army continues to work with state emergency operations in both Arkansas and Oklahoma.  This includes partners with VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) as assessments continue in the impacted areas to determine unmet needs and service opportunities.

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation.  By making a cash donation, it allows The Salvation Army to purchase what is needed at the time it is needed while supporting the impacted area’s economy.  Go to www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY to make a monetary donation.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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Source: disaster.salvationarmyusa.org 

The Salvation Army’s Camp Hoblitzelle welcomes YMCA seniors

Camp Hoblitzelle welcomes YMCA seniors

Camp Hoblitzelle is so much more than a summer camp. In fact, the camp and conference center facility is used year-round to host Salvation Army church camps as well as private rental groups including churches, school and universities.

Vestana Wollos, who is 106 years old, has been attending the Texas Division Older Adult Camp for around 20 years. She was excited to participate in the four-day camp, held at Camp Hoblitzelle in March, with 12 of her friends from the YMCA in Dallas. Her initial introduction to the camp was through a friend who knew the local Salvation Army officer who arranged for them to attend.

“This is my vacation,” said Wollos. “Since I got so young I don’t travel so much anymore. I always liked to travel.”

Instead of swimming, ziplining and canoeing, the senior campers enjoy alternative activities on the camp schedule that include bingo, arts and crafts and fishing. When asked if she had been horseback riding, Wollos laughed. “What? I’m not going to get that close to the horses. That’s not my cup of tea.”

Community partnerships are important to the Army, and the older adult campers from the YMCA are a great example of that. The women enjoyed their time at camp, relishing the opportunity to fellowship together and meet new people. “The food was good, but they fed me too much,” said Wollos. “I don’t get time to get empty, and it’s already time to eat again!”

A highlight of the week was Prom Night on the final evening of the camp. The campers were each invited to vote for their prom king and queen. After the votes were counted, Miss Wollos, at the grand old age of 106, was crowned Prom queen.

“I’ve enjoyed myself this week and love being around my friends and other people,” said Wollos. “The Salvation Army is an important organization, it’s a beautiful thing, how they help other people.”

Source: southernspiritonline.org