Tag Archives: Midland Division

Responding to Flooding

A Salvationist surveys the scene from a Salvation Army Canteen

A Salvationist surveys the scene from a Salvation Army Canteen

Today, local Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers will continue to assist residents, first-responders and clean-up crews in Hollister’s hard-hit Turkey Creek area.

“We arrived on the scene within the hour with water, a few clean-up kits, personnel and snacks, Lt. Shawn DeBaar, Branson Corps Officer and Incident Commander, said.

The Salvation Army will provide immediate assistance to those in need from its Emergency Disaster Services mobile canteen. The EDS canteen will provide meals, snacks, drinks, and disaster clean-up supplies.

“It has been estimated that the number of people being served through this mobile canteen site will be around seventy,” DeBaar said.

The Salvation Army is also the lead agency in charge of serving daily meals at Hollister’s Red Cross shelter. The shelter is located at the New Beginning’s Fellowship Church – 151 Elm St. On Monday, The Salvation Army served seventy-five meals from the shelter.

“We have committed to feed those in the Red Cross shelter as long as the shelter is operating,” DeBaar said.

Currently needed in-kind donations include bottled water, sports drinks (e.g Powerade, Gatorade, etc.), clean-up supplies and first aid kits. All donations may be delivered to The Salvation Army’s Branson Corps – 114 Stanley Blvd.

For more information please contact The Salvation Army’s Branson Corps at (417) 339-4434.
How to Help:
Help provide immediate assistance by donating here, calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or by mailing checks to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1715 Branson MO 65615-1715.

A $10 donation feeds a disaster survivor for one day
A $30 donation provides one food box, containing staple foods for a family of four, or one household cleanup kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets and other cleaning supplies
A $100 donation can serve snacks and drinks for 125 survivors and emergency personnel at the scene of a disaster
A $250 donation can provide one hot meal to 100 people or keep a hydration station operational for 24 hours
A $500 donation keeps a Salvation Army canteen fully operational for one day

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A cup of cold water in Jesus’ name

NEW YEAR, NEW HOPE, NEW CHALLENGES: A Blog Series

By: Tom Kovach, Major Gifts Director

And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.  Matthew 10:42

Energizer employees help build a playground at The Salvation Army's Temple Community Center.

The sounds of laughter and the look of raw emotions on faces is filling the rooms inside a Salvation Army Education and Community Center as children and adults rejoice in the Lord’s blessing and the fellowship of each other. Smiles abound for some, tears of sadness or even joy for others or the journey to a new beginning starts today.   Stories are shared.  Prayers are abundant and many turn to The Salvation Army for hope.  These God-filled activities are repeated daily at our centers from South County to North City, Midtown to Overland and Maplewood to South City.

The Salvation Army takes tremendous pride in serving clients because we stress the importance of our fiduciary role.  Eighty two cents of each dollar contributed is spent for programs and services. The cornerstone of The Salvation Army includes a quality staff ready to serve the needs of these clients yet our demands our growing.  Much like a play or a movie, there are numerous, important supporting roles that play a vital role to helping change lives.

And that’s why you and your colleagues inside your company can help.  Our promise to you is simple: you will make a difference. 

No matter where you work or live, between your commutes from one destination to another, we are looking for volunteers from companies in St. Louis at any of our Salvation Army Community Centers.  I encourage you to get involved as an individual, your family or gather up a group of volunteers from your company.   Donating your time can be range from serving Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to the following:

  • Have numerous office supplies like pens, pencils, notepads, markers etc?  Donate them to The Salvation Army.  Our Temple and Euclid Corps have existing partnerships with the St. Louis Public Schools for instance.
  • At our Family Haven shelter, there are 20 rooms where women and children rest comfortably as they seek permanent housing. These clients stay in a room for several months. We are consistently looking for laundry detergent and cleaning supplies.
  • Clients come to us when they are seeking some form of counseling.  At times, these counseling sessions are designated for a parent(s) and because they can’t afford childcare, we are looking for volunteers to watch their children for an hour or so.  (All mandatory background checks are required for childcare). 
  • Instead of receiving gifts for a birthday or a special occasion, request monetary contributions be directed to The Salvation Army or ask friends/family to buy certain items. Each of our centers has a “Wish List” that we can provide for you.

    Ameren employees donated more than 400 hours in 2011 to bellring for The Salvation Army.

Help us help others!  Consider “Doing The Most Good” in 2012 and start the New Year off right with a thoughtful donation and volunteer.

Bearing witness to a year of miracles

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

You may not realize this, but we writers don’t often get the opportunity to take jobs where we can write about the things we love. In fact to be quite honest, many of the paid writing jobs I’ve taken in the past were quite the opposite. This year, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as the voice for The Salvation Army’s Midland Division, and I feel like I have won the lottery.

Nights around the dinner table in my home have certainly changed. Where once I didn’t have much to say about my day at work (There wasn’t much compelling to share on the days I spent drafting business proposals.), there have been days I have come home and wept with joy that God gave me an opportunity to help someone that day, or simply to listen to them when they clearly needed to be heard. I’ve made friends in some of the most unlikely places, and I’ve been privileged enough to tell stories that will certainly change lives.

I recently celebrated 6 months with The Salvation Army, and in that time, I have met more incredible people than some will meet in their entire lifetime, and have witnessed much of this year of miracles in The Salvation Army – running at a breakneck pace (often with a backpack, a camera and a three piece suit!) to keep up with officers as the Army swoops in to answer the call of yet another disaster, all the while tending to their regular food pantry and social service clients and droves of new ones too. I served in Joplin on and off throughout the summer, and immediately following the storm, listening to the stories of those who wanted to speak, and connecting others with the resources and help that they needed. I wrote and co-produced two films based on the Army’s work in Missouri and Southern Illinois, and I daily break bread with single mothers fighting for their families, criminals who have found God, senior citizens to whom we give real quality of life, and some phenomenal officers and volunteers.

This year, I am thankful for the resources to help those in need; for the people who have shared with me their incredible and, at times, heartbreaking stories; for our faithful masses who share our stories, and for whatever effect they may be having on those that read them – whether it be compelling a donation of time, prayers or goods.

This year marks my first “Tree of Lights” campaign with The Salvation Army, but as we go into this kickoff weekend with all of its many events, and even more to come, look for me in the crowd with the rest of you, eyes aglow with merriment and wonder at the birth of my Lord and Savior and the amazing work of this incredible organization. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for this gift.

No Ordinary Home

The term “homeless shelter” conjures up images of soup kitchens, cots and cold tile. Lillian Bartee imagined these same things when she found herself without a home or job, and preparing to enter The Salvation Army’s Family Haven, but came to find that Family Haven was anything but cold. Lillian’s story is one of how the structure and loving environment of a Salvation Army shelter could serve as the launch pad for greater personal success.

 

Walking into any of Family Haven, the largest family shelter in St. Louis County, visitors are greeted by bible verses and positive affirmations painted on the walls, and the smell of a wholesome home-cooked meal wafting from a kitchen. Every resident is provided their own bed and families have their own room, which many have decorated with crafts and photographs. A play center just off the main entrance has walls adorned with Thomas the Tank Engine, dolphins, inspirational quotes and art. A book nook with pillows and blankets sits adjacent to a computer lab for adults and children alike to find quiet space to read. In short, nothing about this shelter fits the stereotype, and many people who previously had nothing are proud to call it home. 

Lillian grew up in St. Louis and never imagined she would find herself in a homeless shelter, but after a series of trying circumstances, including family turmoil, the death of her parents and the loss of a job she loved, she found herself living in her car. She entered the Family Haven shelter, where she quickly realized the opportunity before her.

 

During her stay at Family Haven, Lillian saved the required 80 percent of her income, and used all the resources provided to her to actively job search. She attended meetings, biblical devotions and worship services. All residents at Family Haven are provided opportunities for therapy, medical care, classes, tutoring and more. During her stay, Lillian came to grow close with the staff, who encouraged her at every step along the way.  

“I worked the system. I took advantage of every opportunity they gave me. [The system] was put into place because it works,” she recalls.

 

Nearing the end of her stay, Lil wondered where she might stay when the 120 day program came to an end. She had been able to secure unemployment benefits, but had not yet been successful in finding permanent employment or housing. Her case worker at Family Haven found an opening at The Salvation Army’s Railton residence, an apartment building in downtown St. Louis that offers downtown living at an affordable price for those who need it. Much to her surprise, Lillian was approved for the apartment.  

“I was excited to find a place,” says Lillian, “but I still needed stable income.” Lillian had worked tirelessly to apply for jobs and network through the Family Haven program, but had not yet found a position that would grant her long-term security. “On the day that I moved into the apartment, my phone rang and I was offered a position at Enterprise Holdings… on that very day.”

 

“Everything fell into place. I had nothing, and within days I had hope for a new life, my own home and a job,” says Lillian, who attributes her success to diligence, drive and the grace of God. “You have to accept the blessing you got. You have to be diligent and you have to want something in order to achieve it.” 

The Family Haven shelter provides emergency shelter to homeless people for up to four months, and services to build a permanent foundation for the people they serve. In 2010, 321 individuals were served through Family Haven’s social services.

 

Residents admitted to the shelter are connected with a network of people that help them restore every area of their life. From the minutia of daily life such as participating in daily chores, to the largest issues such as overcoming mental illness, the staff at Family Haven works to help their clients end the cycle of poverty restore order to otherwise uncertain lives. In 2010, 49 individuals received permanent housing placement, while untold others were helped with transitional housing. More than 23,000 nights of lodging are provided to those in need through Family Haven each year alone. 

“I am so thankful to The Salvation Army for all they have done for me,” she says. Lillian continues to work and restore her life. In time, she hopes to help others in the same way that The Salvation Army helped her.

Recollections of 9/11

By: Linda Day, Midland Division 

Linda Day and Shirley Lawson-Carr of the Midland Division serve at the World Trade Center in December of 2001.

From the minute I heard about the attack on the World Trade Center, I knew that I wanted to volunteer in some way.  I finally worked up the courage to ask my boss, Major Robert Thomson, if I could be considered to go to New York. He said he would consider it, but that I was already responding as our office was responsible for making the arrangements for the deployment of the volunteers going to New Yorkfrom Midland Division.  

At first, the responders who went were Officers, Caseworkers, and our own Emergency Disaster Team.  I fretted as I didn’t have any particular skills other than a desire to serve those who had worked so tirelessly since September 11th so, I just waited for the opportunity.  When I read that the Salvation Army was going to open a huge tent (later called the Taj Mahal) to serve meals, I knew that the time was right. 

On December 10th, nearly 2 months after the events of September 11, 2001, I arrived in Manhattan as part of a two-person team.  Shirley Lawson and I were selected to go to New York for a 2-week deployment.  As we worked our way through the orientation process at the New York Divisional Headquarters, we finally arrived late that night at our hotel in lower Manhattan.  We were told to report for work the next morning at 6:00 a.m. It was raining that morning and we had about a 2-block walk to the tent.  As we got closer, you could still smell the smoke that was coming from the “pit” which we could see in the distance.  We were both walking under the same umbrella when we turned a corner and caught sight of the image that we had seen so many times on TV. It was of the mangled steel structures illuminated by the bright search lights.  It took our breath away, and at that moment, we stopped and prayed that God would protect us and use us for good over the next two weeks.

After arriving at the tent, we met the other 15-20 members of our team who had come from all over the country, including Canada.  The ‘command’ person for our shift happened to be the Administrative Assistant to the Divisional Commander from Nova Scotia, so the three of us became fast friends.  Shirley was soon assigned to be a driver of one of the many 4-wheel drive vehicles called ‘Gators” that were seen zipping around the streets around the work site.  Her job was to deliver supplies to the other locations that were still positioned around the area.  Many of the workers had been working 24/7 since the attack and because of their particular job and proximity to the Taj Mahal, they chose not to come into the tent for meals or snacks, so the Army continued to serve where they were working.  To come into the tent meant that the workers had to go through decontamination showers, which meant more time away from their job, so most of the workers only came in one time a day for a hot meal and to get in out of the cold for awhile.  The tent had only been on site for about a week prior to our arrival, so things kept changing those first few days.  It was really an education and I leaned to be flexible and to ‘go with the flow’ and do what I could – when I could.  I cleaned tables, stocked the comfort area (clean socks, toiletries, candy, gum, etc), swept the floor, served on the cafeteria line and cut so many pies I stopped counting after the first day. 

The Salvation Army had partnered with a company called Witson Catering and they arranged for many of the famous New York restaurants to cater food into the tent, so we had some of the finest cuisine in the world which we were told to serve “in abundance.”  The Incident Command Officer, Major Polarak, told us that these men and women had lost so much, that the best thing we could do for them was to provide as much food as they could eat; not to give anyone the impression that we “were running low” on anything.  We were to be upbeat, encouraging, available to talk and, above all, to listen.  I interacted with literally hundreds of policemen, fire fighters, iron workers and construction workers every day and often had the opportunity to sit with them and have a conversation over a cup of coffee.  I prayed with many of them as they were missing their families and children.  Most of them knew they could not leave their work until it was finished.  When would that be, no one could say.  While Shirley and I were there, the fire that had burned for so long was finally extinguished; the last body was pulled from the rubble, and I witnessed the workers pulling a fire truck out of the hole.  Ten years later, I learned that the fire truck will be part of the permanent memorial.    

As Christmas approached, decorations and Christmas trees were placed in the tent, and just down the street was the very famous cross that was found in the wreckage.  This was soon joined by a giant Menorah, a manger scene and other symbols of the season.  Cards, banners and ornaments made by school children from all over the country arrived daily by the box load.  Often I would see a fire fighter in full gear, sitting all alone at a table wiping away a tear as they read the sentiments written by the children. Not a day passed by that these heroes didn’t thank me for being there.  I would turn this around as quickly as I could, because it was me who was so grateful that they were there and that I could be of service. 

Many years ago I wrote down a quote from one of the Generals of The Salvation Army where he said that, “The Salvation Army is to be the glove on the hand of God.  I remembered that quote during my stint at Ground Zero and today when I am able to respond to someone in need during a disaster.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a hot meal, handing out water, clean-up kits or praying with someone – we are God’s representative at that moment and He is the one who compels us to respond to the need.  My prayer is that I can always respond, in some way, when there is a need. 

All too soon it was time to leave, but we had to do one thing before we left…we had to go to the debriefing meeting.  I was a little intimidated by this as I really didn’t want to talk and share all of the things that I had experienced.  I soon learned that this too is part of responding to a disaster.  I kept a journal in which I recorded one good thing and one bad thing that happened every day.  I shared some of these things in the meeting.  Going through the debriefing helped me put everything about the disaster back in perspective and to get back to work.  It was a little surreal those first few days of getting back to a routine that didn’t involve the smells, sounds and sights of destruction and mayhem all around, but I knew that I had been able to accomplish my goal for those two weeks and now it was up to the other volunteers to have a chance to be of service.  My job was to prepare myself for the next time I would be needed.

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