Tag Archives: salvation army

…for everything else, there’s MasterCard.

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Major Paul Ferguson at our O’Fallon Corps Community Center and shelter knows what’s important.

He became an officer in The Salvation Army because he saw the need that so many people face when it comes to food, clothing, shelter, feeling lost in their faith, or just needing someone to care. But when you’re tending to the needs of so many others, sometimes it’s not possible to tend to the very needs that your home and workplace requires.

“We have limited staff hours and we’re focusing on meeting the needs of the people who walk through our door,” Major Ferguson said. “So when we see the bushes overgrown or broken picnic tables or paint chipping, we don’t have the manpower to do it.”

Enter MasterCard.

With a small army of over 65 volunteers, MasterCard’s LFI division in O’Fallon, Missouri, came out to sort cans, paint, trim bushes and make repairs that have long been needed at this site. This was part of a MasterCard-wide day of service to local organizations that needed volunteers, and The Salvation Army was thrilled to be the recipient of these services for the second time in the past few years.

“Because of their hard work and dedication, they are literally saving us tens of thousands of dollars,” Major Ferguson said. “These repairs give our clients dignity knowing that their space is well taken care of before they go on to the next steps in their lives.”

So here we go with our imitation of MasterCard’s famous marketing campaign:

Paint: $350

Mulch: $650

Chainsaws: $1,000

Taking a day to change the lives of hundreds of people by improving the place where they come to find hope: PRICELESS.

Thank you, MasterCard! To learn about other volunteer opportunities (especially to ring bells… Christmas is coming!) head on over here. We would love to have you help come change lives.

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Semi-pro football team lends helping hands

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Members of the St. Louis Spirit football team recently traded the gridiron for a swatch of tilled earth to help The Salvation Army’s Family Haven develop a community garden.

The minor league football team – part of the Great Midwest Football League – is no stranger to volunteering.

“St. Louis Spirit has always had a special interest in reaching out to charitable organizations,” said head coach and owner Damon Cannon. “But since we’ve focused our efforts on The Salvation Army, I think we’ve been able to do some real good in the community.”

In the past, the team has conducted several food drives to benefit Salvation Army food pantries; moved furniture and set up resident rooms at the Family Haven shelter; conducted fundraisers; and collected much-needed personal care items at their football games. Most recently, they joined children from the shelter to build a community garden, which will eventually allow the residents to grow and eat their own food.

“It’s not just about providing a food source,” Cannon said. “Most of our children in urban St. Louis have never planted a garden or even been around one. They’ll now have the chance to learn how things grow, the work that goes into it, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. It’s a great life lesson.”

For quarterback Eric Bailey, volunteering should be a priority for everyone.

“We think that we don’t have time, that the little time we do have wouldn’t make an impact, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth,” Bailey said. “Reading one book to a child, move some heavy furniture, just sitting and listening to someone talk, or building a garden; it all makes an impact.”

According to Cannon, working with The Salvation Army was a perfect fit.

“Our football players are playing semi-pro because they missed the opportunity to advance their careers,” he said. “Maybe they didn’t get the test scores or scholarship they need. For them, we’re the second chance for those guys. We give them a place to realize their dreams and stay off the streets.

“For whatever reason, they slipped up, and there are so many people in St. Louis who need a second chance, too. The Salvation Army is there to ensure they get it.”

To see The Salvation Army’s perspective on the importance of food insecurity, take a look at what our Divisional Commander has to say in a St. Louis American Op-Ed.

It’s so much more…

We have posted about the benefits and the triumphs that we have seen at our summer camp in Bourbon, MO, but nothing captures that spirit quite like this.

And in honor of the last day of summer, we hope you enjoy this.

And tell us… did you have opportunities like this as a kid? What impact did it have on your life?

This is what going hungry looks like–and we need your help

This is big, and this is serious.

What if your home pantry looked like this... and there was nowhere else to go?

What if your home pantry looked like this… and there was nowhere else to go?

Our O’Fallon Corps Community Center in Missouri sent us this picture. They feed 935 families per month–that’s over 400% increase over the last two years. But in June, all was well: they got 20,000 Ibs of food donated. And for those families who had nowhere else to turn, that was a good thing.

This month, they got 3,900 Ibs of food and that’s it. Now O’Fallon, and many other Salvation Army corps community centers in the St. Louis region, are at risk of turning those families away.

Whether it is a donation of food or of dollars, this is a critical need that we need your help to fill. We need your help right now to feed your neighbors throughout the region. We’re sending out an SOS: please Stock Our Shelves!

MOST NEEDED ITEMS: dry goods (pasta, rice, cereal, etc), canned meat and protein items.

If you would like to help or have questions, please email dana_biermann@usc.salvationarmy.org.

Come intern with us!

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A little bit of everything awesome.

We are now accepting applications for Fall interns. If you just can’t get enough of writing and doing creative stuff and know that you’re helping people in need all the while, then this is DEFINITELY the internship for you.

And we’re f l e x i b l e! We can work around your college classes, so what have you got to lose?

To apply, send your resume and writing samples to dana_biermann@usc.salvationarmy.org, or fill out the application instead.

Light the fire!

Light the fire!

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

I went to church in a prison: Part 2

The Salvation Army Midland Division’s communications department recently visited Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro, Ill., in an effort to learn more about the Army’s services offered to prisoners. This is the second post in a two-part series about what they learned from their experience. This post is written by Ashley Kuenstler, Content Specialist for The Salvation Army and Cardinals fan extraordinaire. Part One can be found here.

Nathaniel knew his wife was cheating on him. He had been slamming drink after drink at a local bar when a friend called to tell him there was a man at his house who shouldn’t be there.

“We were technically separated, but I still had keys to the house. In my eyes, the only choice I had was to go to that house and take care of the situation,” he said. “The devil had me in his grips and I had no idea.”

Nathaniel arrived at the house to find neither his wife or a mysterious man. But after listening to her voicemails and confirming his friend’s allegations, Nathaniel was filled with a rage that sequestered any kind of normal thought process. He lit a piece of paper on fire, threw it on her bed, and left the house.

“I had no idea that my stepson was asleep inside,” Nathaniel said. “He died in that fire, and it’s my fault. It was the worst day of my life. I’ve spent 11 years in prison with that on my mind all day, every day.”

He paused for a moment and looked down to his folded hands. My mind could not physically grapple with what Nathaniel must endure to his mind and his spirit on a daily basis. I wanted to say something comforting to ease the pain I saw in his face, but the only thing my body could manage was a single tear that raced down my left cheek. My heart broke for him and it broke for the loss of his stepson. But for Nathaniel, this is what it took for him to change his life.

“Thanks to God, I’m not the same person anymore,” he said. “I’ve been surrounded by good people and I’ve been introduced to the word of God. I learned how to be a man and I’m blessed to be able to turn this situation into a chance to help others, to the be the kind of man others can look up to.”

Major Jack Holloway standing in front of Graham Correctional Facility in Hillsboro, IL

Major Jack Holloway standing in front of Graham Correctional Facility in Hillsboro, IL

Major Jack Holloway – The Salvation Army’s Correctional Services Secretary – said seeing this kind of transformation is what continually inspires him while working in the Army’s prison ministry.

“It’s an often forgotten population that I don’t want us to forget,” Major Holloway said. “I continually meet men who have no sense of value or future and I’m able to tell them, ‘Yes, you do have great value and purpose.’ And then I get to prove it to them through the word of God.”
Major Holloway has spent the last three years travelling to prisons throughout Missouri and Illinois, finding placement for inmates upon their release, helping them find employment, ministering to them, and getting to know them on a personal level.

“I meet with them on a one-on-one basis as often as I can to just talk,” Major Holloway said. “We talk about how their day is going, what’s weighing on their heart, and how God can help to fix it. They know what they did was wrong, and they realize there is a penalty for that action. They dream of a better life and a chance to start over, to make their lives worth something, and we are there to help them realize that dream.”

For Ollie – a former gang member imprisoned for murdering a man and trying to kill a woman – his faith and trust in The Salvation Army and its message was solidified when he realized Major Holloway knew his name.

“One day, I covered up my nametag to see if he would know my name. He knew it without missing a beat,” Ollie said. “And then it just hit me: I didn’t need the gang life or anything associated with it to be memorable. I just had to be a good and righteous man and lead by example.”

For Major Hollway – seeing the transformation firsthand is something that never fails to strike a chord.

“One of my most memorable experiences in the prison ministry was several months ago while I was giving a sermon on Sunday morning,” he said. “I was reading scripture and compared the men to clay and God to a potter. I said, ‘A potter’s clay is often marred and scarred and full of imperfections, but the potter will never throw his clay away. And as I looked out over the men in the congregation, I could just see it hit 20 of them right between the eyes. I saw it in their faces and I could see that transformation take place instantaneously. It struck such a chord with me and it’s something I’ll never forget.”

The Salvation Army offers volunteer opportunities in the prison system for people interested in working with inmates and furthering their transformation. In order to keep in accordance with prison regulations, the approval process can be long and complicated, but definitely rewarding. Volunteers can assist in fatherhood classes, general education, spiritual guidance, and more.

“There are people who volunteer their time and work with us on a regular basis,” Ollie said. “I’d never seen a man do anything for free – and they are doing that for me of all people? That changed my heart.

“To so many people, we are scum. We are not worth a second glance, we’re not worth anything at all,” Nathaniel said. “But The Salvation Army and Major Holloway realize that’s not true. God knows that’s not true.

“I am forever changed from this experience and have given my life to God. And when He allows me to leave this place, he will have me until it’s time for me to come home to Him.”

To learn more about The Salvation Army’s prison ministry or how you can volunteer, please visit http://www.stlsalvationarmy.org.

Cardinals Nation: It’s go time

This post is by Dana Biermann, employee of The Salvation Army Midland Division in St. Louis and a lover of the Redbirds.

Won a World Series two years ago... unlike some other teams we know.

Won a World Series two years ago… unlike some other teams we know.

Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if we got swept by the Cubs this late in the season?

Answer: Like, really embarrassing.

Because we have the highest win percentage in baseball right now. We have Yadi, Carpenter, Waino. Not to mention the greatest (and most supportive) fans in major league baseball.

So what if someone from Chicago were to throw out the first pitch at OUR GAME. What if a CUBS FAN got to showboat to the mound in front of 47,000 Cardinals devotees like he owned the place??

That is in danger of happening.

On August 10, it is The Salvation Army’s Night at the Ballpark, and The Salvation Army of Chicago is battling us head on for the rights to throw out the first pitch. And who gets that throw is determined by YOU–us, or them.

If you’re a Cubs fan (boo!) you text MYCUBS to 80888 to make a $10 donation to The Salvation Army in Chicago.

But if you’re a CARDINALS FAN (cue musical flourish) text MYCARDS to 80888 to make a $10 donation to The Salvation Army that will stay right here in St. Louis. The most money raised will determine who throws out the first pitch.

And since we’re at the height of hunger in our city and with our food pantries going bare, your text will give local, struggling families the support they need to survive, AND save our city from embarrassment. It’s a win-win, folks.

Texting starts NOW and we have until August 8th to show Chicago who’s boss.

Our thumbs are ready for a workout. Are yours?

Paying for garbage? Absolutely! (Especially if it benefits homeless services)

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Want a way to start your August off with a bang? Well The Salvation Army knows exactly how to do that with our upcoming Garbage Bag Gala on August 2. The Garbage Bag Gala is a fashion show that benefits The Salvation Army’s homeless services and emergency social services.  The evening’s highlights include models in creations made of garbage bags and duct tape and an after-party on the roof of the Moonrise Hotel. We already have the models, the designs, and yes, the garbage bags. But we’re missing just one ingredient to make this night perfect and that’s you!

Tickets are discounted right now and the tickets range from $25 for admission to the show to $50 for admission to the show and after-party access. Just ONE day left to get these half-off prices to the Garbage Bag Gala.

Grab your tickets now while prices are still discounted until July 19at midnight. Hope to see you at the Moonrise Hotel on August 2 from 7-11 p.m.

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