Inspires St. Charles Residents to Volunteer with The Salvation Army

By: Bethany Williams, Midland Division

“Make sure you know why you are volunteering,”
announced Captain Paul Ferguson of The Salvation Army to
the group gathered at the 2nd Street Bike Stop Cafe for a volunteerism networking event. The presentation on May 30 was hosted by St. Charles Patch and The Salvation Army to help local residents find volunteer opportunities and included a tutorial on how to share their experiences through

Captain Ferguson, who is stationed at The Salvation Army in O’Fallon, Mo., revealed the great demand for assistance in the northwestern portion of St. Louis County. For instance, the O’Fallon food pantry fed 15,000 people in 2011, and the family shelter, which has 28 beds, is always filled to capacity. Captain Ferguson mentioned a variety of ways for area residents to assist non-profit organizations such as The Salvation Army by donating clothes, food, toys and time in a variety of service outlets.

“Try using your skills and hobbies to find volunteer opportunities that you will enjoy,” suggested Captain Ferguson. “Schools, libraries, homeless shelters and food pantries always could use some extra help.”

Kalen Ponche, St. Charles Patch editor, spoke about the “Give 5 Days” event where Patch employees found new ways to volunteer within their own communities. Other Patch editors present included: Jordan Lanham of O’Fallon Patch, Tamara Duncan of Wentzville Patch, Joe Barker of St. Peters Patch and Kurt Greenbaum, the St. Louis regional editor for Patch.

Boasting as “a local Youtube and Flickr,” Patch currently has 23 news sites dedicated to communities in the St. Louis area. By allowing residents to post events, pictures, blogs, videos, business listings, announcements or calendar updates, Patch serves as a way for neighborhoods to stay connected.

“Using, we are hoping to build an interconnected relationship with our readers and create a beautiful tapestry of stories,” said Lindsay Toler, host for the event and Social Media Miner at “We would love to cover all of the stories throughout St. Louis ourselves, but when the stories are created and shared by actual residents, they become more authentic and moving.”

To sign up for your community newsletter, visit

To view more pictures from the event, visit The Salvation Army St. Louis Flickr site.

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