Tag Archives: missouri

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

The perfect recipe for comfort


This article is written by Ashley Kuenstler, Content Specialist for The Salvation Army Midland Division.


When you step foot inside the O’Fallon Worship and Community Center, the first thing you will notice is the smell.

If you allow your nose to guide you, you’ll weave your way through tiled hallways until you find the source. And on this particular day, it was roasted chicken, homemade mashed potatoes, and freshly baked bread.

“It’s almost intoxicating,” said O’Fallon Shelter Manager Peggy Sherwin. “It’s a host of smells that take me back to when I was a kid in the South, playing on the sidewalk and smelling the chicken from inside my grandmother’s house.”

These are the types of reactions Ayla Rashad wAyla orks every day to provide to the families of the O’Fallon shelter. Through some kitchen appliances, cooking utensils, and a variety of ingredients, Rashad has been serving up comfort to shelter residents for five years.

“Her food gives a sense of comfortability, security, and warmth that are so important to our shelter families,” said Sherwin. “Those aromas remind them of home and of better times; a perfect environment to get their lives back on track.”

Rashad creates home-cooked meals twice a day for approximately 30 people. Each meal consists of a meat, vegetable, starch, bread, and dessert – all from scratch. And on Fridays, she works double-time and prepares meals for the entire weekend. If you ask her to talk about this seemingly stressful job, she will illuminate the room.

“This isn’t a job, it’s me doing what I love every day of my life,” said Rashad. “Cooking is just what I’m meant to do; it’s my purpose. The only part that makes it a chore is the dishes.”

Rashad is passionate for not just her food – but the shelter residents as well. She enjoys getting creative in the kitchen to keep residents on their toes and ensure they enjoy every meal.

“One time a family of six was staying in the shelter and they were all vegetarian,” she said. “I had never cooked with tofu before, so I went into my kitchen and didn’t come out until I could cook meals they could eat, too. I think they were shocked to be in a shelter and have someone cater to them.”

Employees and clients alike agree that Rashad is the facility’s cornerstone, bringing people together around a dinner table for fellowship on a daily basis. When it comes to her cooking, there are only two things she won’t do: make boxed meals or use a microwave.

“I just can’t use it,” she said with a laugh. “I tried cooking minute rice in the microwave before, and it came out inedible. I couldn’t do it right. You want some rice? Give me a pot and some boiling water and I’ll make you some rice.”

During her tenure with the shelter, Rashad said her role was put into perspective when a neighbor from her childhood was a resident there.

“When I saw her in the shelter, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I mean, I knew this girl growing up; I knew her entire family. And I realized I could help her. I could help take care of her with the food I was making.”

“She loves engaging with the residents and genuinely cares about they want and need,” Sherwin continued. “You will find so much when you visit her kitchen: amazing food, plenty of laughs, fellowship, and that feeling of comfort; you’ll just never find any leftovers.”

To learn about how you can help cook at our Worship and Community Centers, please visit our Volunteer page. 

This Week: Garbage Bag Gala at Moonrise Hotel

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Erin Kilfoy works on one of her Garbage Bag Gala creations with model Andreea Cojocariu.

We’ve been hard at work on this event for months now and this week, we get to see all of our hard work come to fruition.

This Friday night, 17 models and designers will feature their casual and formal creations made out of garbage bags and duct tape on the runway (grand staircase) at Moonrise Hotel! Some of the creations we’ve seen are absolutely awe-inspiring – from trash bag wedding dresses to mermaid-inspired creations.

These models and designers have been hard at work for the fun of it – and also because they believe in the cause – Salvation Army homeless shelters in the St. Louis region. Check out this blog from model Andreea Cojocariu for more on why she’s so supportive of this event and The Salvation Army in Missouri.

This week only there are several online specials for discounted tickets, but if you have it in your budget to purchase at full price, remember that the proceeds go to support our homeless shelters in O’Fallon, Alton and St. Louis. Come out and enjoy an amazing show, entertainment from Rob Cruse and DJ Epic and delicious eats from Eclipse Restaurant.

Lindsay Toler models one of her Garbage Bag Gala outfits. Lindsay is one of three models from Patch.com.

This event was made possible by incredible sponsors and partners such as Hardees, Moonrise Hotel, Eclipse Restaurant, Cruse Entertainment, Yelp and Patch.com.

Special room packages are available at the Moonrise Hotel for attendees. Their “Get a Night, Give A Night” promotion will donate $53 from your stay to The Salvation Army’s shelter program. Book now, they’re going fast!

Carefest faith challenge held at Arnold Salvation Army

By: Becky Kreienkamp, Salvation Army

The Arnold Salvation Army kicked off Carefest in an effort to give back to and care for the members of their church and community center.

On June 3, The Salvation Army’s Arnold Corps kicked off Carefest, a program designed to assist the congregation’s members who need God’s word, help around the house, or a person to listen to their story. On Sunday, members of the congregation started by taking baked goods to their fellow church members and asking if they need help with household tasks or if they simply need someone to engage them in conversation or prayer. Charity work like this has of course been done by all of The Salvation Army corps, but this is the first time a corps has put a name to such charity work.

Linda Day, Corps Sergeant Major of the Arnold corps, is the brains behind Carefest and she explained in detail about this fantastic program. This corps is going out to help their fellow church members and soldiers who are now older and are not able to come to church anymore. Carefest gives church members the opportunity to remind these withdrawn members of God’s love, as well as help them with household tasks they are no longer able to perform. Just giving people a chance to talk about their troubles could be the best therapy. “We will sit down over something as common as bread and cookies, and ask ‘how are you doing? What’s been going on?’ Maybe they need a weekly visit,” says Captain Debbie Osborn.

Linda explained that since Carefest is just beginning, participants will find out who else needs assistance by observing their friends and neighbors as the program progresses. “Carefest is a catalyst for what we want to do,” says Linda Day. And what the Arnold corps wants to do is help the community, but first they will start by helping their fellow members and soldiers.

Carefest is starting out small, but mighty. One does not need a high status in the church to participate. Many of the partakers are men who enjoy doing odd jobs around the church, and now their work is being expanded to the community. Carefest is so wonderful because church members of all ages and backgrounds can join in reaching out to disadvantaged congregation members. Linda has even recruited her young nephews to go on visits with her. “I hope they pick up why we do it, why we help people,” says Linda about her nephews. This is a great opportunity to build the faith lives of all involved; the helpers and the helped can learn the importance of carrying out God’s will.

The program is in it’s early stages, but Captain Matt Osborn, Captain Debbie Osborn, and Linda Day are all confident Carefest will go a long way to help the community. Right now, the Arnold corps is helping only their fellow church members and people they know on a personal level. Soon, this may expand to strangers who also need to know God’s love.

However, helping a friend in need is more difficult than one would think. Both Captain Matt and Captain Debbie explained that people are prideful, and are shy about accepting help. “We want to cross that barrier, take down that wall,” says Captain Matt about these reserved members. The church members participating in Carefest want their friends to know they are willing to lend a hand no matter the circumstances, and no judgment is passed on any person in need.

During her sermon on Sunday morning, Captain Debbie challenged her congregation to put their faith into action and go out of their comfort zone, and that’s exactly what Carefest is all about. Captain Debbie explained that a friendly face can truly go a long way, “just a visit will do a person a world of good,” she said during her sermon. Corps Sergeant Major Linda Day summed up Carefest beautifully with these words: “It’s a faith challenge. They go hand and glove; faith and works.”

For more on the Arnold Salvation Army, click here.

To find one near you, click here.

Midtown Salon offering special rates for military servicemen and women

100% of Proceeds to Salvation Army Veterans Programs

Starting Monday, May 28, from 10-2 p.m., 212 Salon in Midtown will be hosting “Military Mondays” for men and women of the Armed Services. Military personal and veterans will be able to get a haircut for $10. The salon is partnering with The Salvation Army to raise money for its Veterans Program.

The last Monday of every month the Salon will open just for the armed services from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with 100 percent of all proceeds benefiting the charities that impact and aid our military personal and families.

“It is through partnerships like this that makes it possible to Do the Most Good in the St. Louis region,” said Major Lonneal Richardson, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army. “It is great that we are able to start such a great program on Memorial Day that will benefit our men and women of the Armed Services.”

Contact Corey James at (314) 534-4247 or info@212salon.net to schedule an appointment or acquire more information. 212 Salon is located at 511 North Garrison Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103.

Day of Unity Video – Joplin

One year ago this week, a tornado changed the lives of thousands in Joplin, and thousands more who gave of their time and heart to work toward rebuilding. It was a wonderful experience this week to take a break from the work and reflect on how far the community has come. We continue to be a driving force in the recovery there daily.

We hold this community in our hearts and prayers, and look forward to another year of even greater strides and impressive improvements.

A Reason to Hope: One Year after the Joplin Tornado

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Every morning since the storm, Doug has gone out to sit on his old concrete porch, all that remains of his former home. “I don’t think I’ve missed a morning. It’s where I can be by myself, gather my thoughts, plan for my day,” he says.

Doug Keeney was uninsured and unemployed when the tornado struck. A construction worker in a down economy, he had long struggled to find reliable work.

Keeney lived in a house he planned to retire in. “It was an old house, but it was paid for,” he remarks. “It was surrounded by a dozen beautiful old trees that I just loved, but because of those trees, I was unable to get insurance for the home. We’d had two ice storms a few years previous and the insurance company required that I had to cut back all trees hanging over the house. At a cost of $300-$400 per tree, I just couldn’t afford to cut them back without a job.”

On May 22, when the sirens sounded, Keeney wasn’t unusually concerned.

“We always get weather alerts, and everybody just goes out on their front porch and looks. I saw there was a tornado north of my house and I wasn’t overly concerned,” recalls Keeney, “but I remembered the employees at the Arby’s near my home didn’t have a TV or radio and probably didn’t know to take cover. I walked across the street and told them to get in their cooler to take cover. They invited me to take cover with them and I told them I’d run home to get my wallet and keys and would return shortly.”

As Keeney arrived home, the wind increased to a dangerous pace and before he knew it, he was unable to take cover. Doug became pinned between his front door and the nearest wall, a lucky place it turned out, as very little else was left when the storm passed.

“When the storm was over, the second story on my home was gone, as was half of the story I was standing on. I dug around and found a few things I needed, then headed out to find my neighbors and friends. That’s when I saw the only thing that was left standing at Arby’s was the cooler where the employees had taken cover.”

Keeney brushes off the thought he might be a hero saying, “I think I just did what everyone else would have done.”

For the next three weeks, Doug came to his home every day to clear debris and find his belongings. “I dug through all of the debris and found every little thing I could. The volunteers were amazing. They helped a lot. They got down in there and dug with me and helped me move what I could.”

Since the storm, Keeney has worked closely with The Salvation Army case managers. “As far as I’m concerned, Dana and her team have really gone above and beyond. When I needed work clothes for my debris clean-up job, they were there. They’re working to help me get a vehicle, and thanks to her team, I’ve been connected with Convoy of Hope, and they are building me my new home.”

Every morning since the storm, Doug has gone out to sit on his old concrete porch, all that remains of his former home. “I don’t think I’ve missed a morning. It’s where I can be by myself, gather my thoughts, plan for my day,” he says.

Around the one-year anniversary, Keeney will move into his new home, built on the same lot.

“I’m gonna miss my trees,” he says a little wistfully, “but this has turned out to be such a blessing, none of which would have been possible without The Salvation Army.”

Hope grows in the shadows

By: Danni Eickenhorst

The Joplin Memorial and newly constructed Cunningham Park are prepared for Joplin’s anniversary events and Day of Unity, in the shadow of the remains of St. John’s hospital.

Today, I arrived in Joplin at a pivotal point in both the city’s and my own healing process following the Joplin tornado, an event that radically changed the lives of thousands in the span of 32 minutes.

I haven’t been in Joplin, minus a very short trip recently, and really toured the damage since August, when I worked on a film for The Salvation Army. On my last trip of any length here, the town had not yet officially begun it’s rebuilding process, as they were only then issuing building permits – but save for a few renegade or priority projects, the landscape was still rather barren, and still dotted with prominent signs of destruction.

Tomorrow, the City of Joplin is hosting a Day of Unity event, and I encourage all those who have a tie to the work in Joplin to attend. Residents, first responders, volunteers alike will stand to benefit from seeing this town in a better state, and the hope that is beginning to grow in the shadows of the bits of destruction that still stand.

Starting at 2:00 p.m., we will depart 20th & Duquesne and walk the path of the tornado, finally ending our journey at 5:15 at Cunningham Park for festivities and an official remembrance at 5:41 p.m., the time the tornado struck last year, changing everything.

As every good reporter does, I previewed my path in advance today and ended my drive at Cunningham Park. I won’t lie and say that things are just as they were before the storm. In fact, I don’t know what Joplin was like before the storm firsthand, though I’ve heard many times of the beautiful tree-lined streets.

The town is still very sparse and there are still many signs of destruction, but there is also a real tangible hope in these people and in this town. Businesses are starting to rebuild and it appears that people have not abandoned this community as we once feared.

On the eve of tomorrow’s events, those that did leave town are returning to make their peace. I sat at the memorial constructed at Cunningham Park, in the shadows of St. John’s Hospital, which still stands in much the same condition I first found it.Sitting there in the park, I watched people trickle in, say prayers and consider what the day meant to them.

In the year since I first arrived in this town, The Salvation Army and other organizations have united to do such good for this community, and it’s with excitement that I await tomorrow’s events. It’s with an eye to the future and a heart for celebrating the many impossible odds they’ve overcome that the City of Joplin will recognize this day.

Tonight, I heard President Obama and Governor Jay Nixon speak at the Joplin High School Commencement Ceremony, and there I heard speaker after speaker share stories of tragedy and triumph.

Governor Nixon said, “Every day the sun sets on a new Joplin, and rises on a better place,” and this, above all the many inspiring speeches heard tonight best embodied what I see in this town. President Obama said, “Some of the bonds that are strongest in life are the ones we forget when all around us seems to be broken.”

I look forward to tomorrow – to the ceremonies of celebration and triumph in the shadows of the ruins of St. John’s hospital, and the good things to come for this great town.

Social Success & Garbage Bag Gala Sneak Peek with Jess Leitch – Designers Needed!

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Well, thanks to all of you we really hit one out of the ballpark with Tuesday night’s #TweetTheMostGood event on the Moonrise Hotel rooftop! We sold the event out (twice) and had an incredibly engaged group of people captive for our story.

A special thanks to Simone and Jake Bernstein for coming out and encouraging individuals to find time in their busy schedules to give back. The event was truly a Who’s Who of St. Louis social media and gave The Salvation Army in St. Louis more than half a million impressions through the magic of Twitter.

A big THANKS to Social Media Club of St. Louis for showing up in droves and to Vantage Credit Union for their sponsorship and support! – AND OF COURSE: Thanks to Moonrise Hotel & Eclipse Restaurant without whom none of this would be possible. They went above and beyond!

Our next event is Garbage Bag Gala at Moonrise Hotel. #TweetTheMostGood generated such buzz for this event that I know it will surely surpass our tweetup.

This morning, I met with the incomparable Jess Leitch, blogger (@CityJars) and all around great gal and we planned and plotted for Garbage Bag Gala. Check it out and get involved:

NAACP names Major Mark Haslett “Man of the Year”

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

Image Courtesy of Sedalia News Journal

On Saturday, April 14, Major Mark Haslett of the Sedalia Salvation Army attended the annual Sedalia/Pettis County NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet in support of an organization he deemed a worthy ally in his work, never expecting the spotlight would be turned on him.

“I believe shocked is the word,” he says laughing as he recalls the moment he realized they were honoring him as their local Man of the Year, “I’m still trying to figure out what I did to deserve it. It’s like Grace, I suppose. I have done nothing to earn it.”

Ida Shobe of the NAACP couldn’t disagree with Major Haslett’s assessment more, “You gotta do something to get that award. You gotta stand tall and that man stands tall for everybody,” she says adamantly.

“I love that man! You know what? That man sees no racism. He doesn’t know poor from rich. He helps everybody. I think that man, he is doing what Jesus wants us to do. I really believe that.”

When a storm damaged a nursery near her home, Ida reached out to Major Mark who sent out a crew right away to repair the nursery so taht they could reopen for business and help families.

“That’s the kind of man he is,” she says, “I love that man!”

Major Haslett and the Sedalia Salvation Army continue their work in the area, working with low income residents to provide food pantry services, and to help children in need find a safe place to play and positive role models.

“Major Haslett deserves this honor,” states Shobe emphatically, “He is truly Jesus’ helper.”

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