Tag Archives: the salvation army

Courage under fire: a profile of Major Marie Ozanne

By: Valerie Murray, Estate Coordinator, Midland Division

 In June of 1940 an event little known today occurred: The German army invaded and occupied the Channel Islands, a part of Great Britain off the coast of Normandy an occupation that lasted until war’s end.  A part of this story belongs to a young woman of Guernsey, Major Marie Ozanne.  Major Marie, a Guernsey native, served at a Belgian Corps.  However, when World War II began, she returned home immediately to lead the St. Sampson Corps in Guernsey.  When the German army took over the island, they ordered The Salvation Army disbanded, its worship services forbidden, and its officers forbidden to wear uniforms.  The Commandant even forbade the band to perform.

However, Major Marie refused to bow to the German authorities.  She wrote to the Commandant she would not close St. Sampson Corps.  She continued her duties in full Salvation Army uniform at the Corps and in the marketplace, speaking to anyone who would listen to her.  The Germans referred to her in Occupation documents of this period as simply a “lunatic and religious fanatic.” 

Finally, the Commandant personally directed Major Marie to give up her uniform.  When she ignored this order, the military police arrested her and forced her to give it up.  Yet, in street clothes, she continued preaching the word of God, in defiance of the Commandant’s orders.  She even began to teach herself German in order to minister to the German soldiers who might listen.

Hitler ordered six thousand slave laborers to these small islands during the Occupation, to build huge concrete fortifications and bunkers in advance of the British attack he believed would soon come.  These men were from Spain, France, Russia, and Poland and treated like animals.  Many were worked to death, others flogged and tortured, subsisting only on minimal rations.  Many heard theirs screams.  Major Marie heard these screams.  She would not ignore them.  She went to the slave labor camps to minister to the men and to bring them the word of God and hope.  She complained unrelentingly to the camp’s commandant about their inhumane treatment.

After two years of her interference, in August of 1942, the Commandant realized that Major Marie was more than a lunatic or religious fanatic.  He ordered her arrested and imprisoned.  From prison, she wrote to him that she would “not take back a single word”; that she would not stand by to watch her fellow men treated so savagely.  She told the Commandant she was revolted by the oppression and hatred with which the slave laborers were treated.  He released Major Marie was after only two months, in October of 1942, but she died shortly afterward as a result of the horrible mistreatment received while imprisoned. 

We will not forget Major Marie Ozanne’s courage and bravery in the face of evil.  She is a witness to the precept that we are not put on earth for ourselves, but for others.  As Catherine Booth said, “The world is waiting for you!” Pray that we, like Major Marie Ozanne, are ready to act.



A tip of the cap from Scrooge…

by Tom Kovach, Major Gifts Director

In the Sunday’s Business edition of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the headline reads: Worthy charities earn Scrooge’s nod. It was written by Jim Gallagher, a well respected columnist for the newspaper.  Mr. Gallagher starts the article off by saying the older he gets, the more like Scrooge he becomes. He takes this approach to charity for 11 months of the year. 

Then after Thanksgiving, a strange malady overcomes him and Mr. Gallagher writes: “A warm and giddy feeling (a fever, perhaps?) grips me, and before I regain my senses, I write a bunch of checks. The Salvation Army, the St. Louis Area Foodbank, a couple of homeless shelters……” He goes on to pen that “we sufferers from Seasonal Charity Disorder need professional help.”  Mr. Gallagher is open and humorous with how he feels about giving to charity but the most important point the article made was: “When that warm and giddy check-writing impulses grips you, be sure you’re giving to charities that really do what they promise.”

Our promise to you is to continue to be accountable and transparent.  Eighty two cents on the dollars is distributed to programs and services in the St. Louis area and The Salvation Army takes a tremendous amount of care with your investment.  For example, the area that I specialize is major gifts and they come in all sizes from corporations to individuals and the best way to describe the collage of our donors was at the recent Tree of Lights kickoff luncheon.  A potpourri of donors were present- Edward Jones, St. Louis Design Alliance, St. Louis Equity Fund, AT&T, Albert Arno Heating and Cooling just to name a few.  New and current Salvation Army Midland Division board members mingled with guests.   This event was a mixture of brand new investors to The Salvation Army and our dear friends who have supported The Salvation Army for many years.

Whether you are a first-time donor or you make your gift in December each year, I highly encourage you to open and read prior testimonies from our social media pages to actually see how we make a difference in people’s lives!  The Salvation Army is a charity that really does what we promise.  Read what we do from these moving stories written by our Contest Specialist Danni Eickenhorst, officers and staff members, then decide at what level you think we are worth—it can be $50, $100, a dollar a day ($365), $2,500, a gift of stock, IRA contribution or much more.

You will find and rest assured your donation to The Salvation Army – no matter at what level– to be a positive, uplifting return on investment for the St. Louis region.

Salvation Army Tree of Lights Kickoff Slated for November 20!

St. Louis − The Salvation Army is officially kicking off its 2011 Tree of Lights campaign during a tailgate party before the St. Louis Rams game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Nov. 20. This year’s Tree of Lights chairman is Kevin Demoff, COO and Executive Vice President of Operations for the St. Louis Rams.

The Tailgate Party & Kickoff Program will be held in the Broadway Room in the America’s Center from 12:30-2 p.m., followed by the game at 3:05 p.m. in the adjoining Edward Jones Dome. Tickets for admission to both the game and Tailgate Party start at $160 per person and include a $47 donation to The Salvation Army. Table sponsorships start at $1,500 and includes eight tickets to the party and game. All game tickets are field level tickets. Those interested in purchasing tickets may contact Angie Merseal at (314) 646-3193.

In a year of economic hardship and unprecedented natural disasters, The Salvation Army has come to the aid of those in need throughout Missouri and Southern Illinois. More than ever, The Salvation Army is seeing families and individuals asking for aid for the first time in their lives. The Salvation Army reaches out to the region through more than 100 programs at 14 regional worship and community centers.

The Salvation Army has served the St. Louis area in so many ways:

· 825,473 meals have been served to the needy and those affected by disaster to date in 2011;
· 15,927 people were given temporary shelter in 2010;
· 79,761 individuals were given Christmas assistance in 2010;
· 124,150 orders for grocery assistance have been filled to date in 2011; and
· 24,618 people given assistance in response to disaster in 2011, to date.

The Salvation Army is an international organization that has been doing the most good in the St. Louis region for 129 years. The Salvation Army serves community members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through emergency disaster services and dozens of different programs that are designed to help people attain, or regain, self-sufficiency. For more information, please call 314.646.3000 or visit http://www.stl-salvationarmy.org.

“You like me, you really like me!”

We were absolutely honored to win the “Best New Public Works Project” from the Riverfront Times last week! Wanted to share this awesome video about our KaBoom build with Energizer! Thanks again to our partners in this project!



Volunteer Receptionist needed during Christmas season

Do you have a few hours to share each week? The Salvation Army is looking for friendly, outgoing volunteers  to help staff receptionist answer the phones during our extremely busy Christmas season (October-December).


– Answer the phones and provide information about our program and resources within the community.

– Light office work or data entry. 


Monday – Friday, 8:30am-12:15pm or 12:30-4:15pm.

Volunteers can schedule a specific shift weekly or serve on as needed basis

Skills Needed:

– Cheerful phone personality

– Positive attitude

– Some computer skills helpful. Basic training provided.

For more information contact Sheila Davis at sheila_r_davis@usc.salvationarmy.org or click here to sign up online: https://app.volunteer2.com/Public/Organization/62775e78-38bd-4eb0-b6a6-826e6a966e34/Activity/b674b049-6683-4f6e-8f39-ccebfc0b5644

Adopt-a-bed program launched to support local shelters

The Salvation Army announces the kick-off of their Adopt-A-Bed program, a sponsorship and donation program to support the work of the O’Fallon and Alton homeless shelters. The Salvation Army provides services to families in the St. Louis area, and seeks to help them break the cycle of poverty, by helping them to become stable and self-sufficient.

Adopt-a-Bed sponsorships are available at a variety of levels, and work to continue the work of The Salvation Army in O’Fallon and Alton, two of the most critically impoverished communities in the metro area. The Alton shelter provides services to more than 300 individuals annually, and operates at maximum capacity continuously. The O’Fallon shelter has seen a tenfold increase in need in their area from 2010 to 2011. Both shelters have seen reduced donations, and budget cuts from programs that previously supported their work.

“It is easy to overlook the need,” says Captain Paul Ferguson of the O’Fallon corps, “but people are now asking for help for the very first time. They live in nice houses and drive nice cars, but they’re suddenly struggling to pay for utilities and groceries and are at risk of losing their houses and cars. They never expected to experience this level of need.”

The Salvation Army asks those interested in adopting a bed to call the O’Fallon (636.240.4969) and Alton (314.465.7764) shelters directly to donate, or to donate online and specify “Alton Shelter” or “O’Fallon shelter” when making their donation.

The O’Fallon Shelter: Empowering People to Help Themselves

At the age of 29, Rebecca Reeves is starting over. Just a few months out of prison and 6 months sober after a long addiction to heroin, the mother of two is finding a new start with The Salvation Army’s O’Fallon homeless shelter.

“The Salvation Army provides me with a lot of structure and a stable living environment,” says Reeves, who notes that these things are critical for her recovery, as she battles both drug addiction and mental illness.

Reeves is a resident at the O’Fallon homeless shelter, where she is receiving vocational rehabilitation, job leads, medical treatment, counseling, medication and life skills education. She credits The Salvation Army for empowering her and others like her to do more for themselves.

“The staff here motivates you.” she says. “They have shown me that people want to help me, and that I can’t do everything on my own.”

Reeves and other residents enjoy regular visits with a counselor that comes to the facilities on Saturdays. They also receive assistance for mental and physical ailments, including necessary treatments through the nearby Crider facility.

Leslie MarNa, the Regional Shelter Administrator for The Salvation Army says that the O’Fallon shelter is a lot more than a hot and a cot, with a network of resources that allow them to provide meaningful services to nearly 100 residents each year.

The O’Fallon shelter often receives referrals from hospitals, psychiatric facilities and local government entities. They provide housing for single parents with children and married families, affected by homelessness or domestic violence.

“A family or individual is allowed to stay for 4 months,” says MarNa, “but these days the stays have been a bit longer, because the time it takes to help someone establish a stable income has grown longer due to job shortages.”

Parenting classes, a family play room and suites designed to accommodate children are assisting Reeves and other residents in rebuilding their lives and restoring their damaged relationships.

With help from shelter staff and the comfortable accommodations provided, Rebecca can keep her children during her periods of visitation, and also provide them with a sense of structure and security during their visits. “They love coming here. They love the staff and they can’t wait for their time with me,” says Reeves.

Shelter residents are mandated to save 70% of any income they receive while staying in the shelter. A local bank has also provided residents with financial fitness workshops, helping them set up savings accounts and waiving many of the traditional requirements and fees, in an effort to help them make a fresh start.

“When people hear the term ‘homeless shelter,’ they picture something different,” says Reeves. At the O’Fallon shelter, her children sleep in comfortable bunk beds at night in a private room, and can play on the playground, volleyball courts or Wii during the day.

“If I didn’t have the Salvation Army as a resource, I would be on the streets and I wouldn’t be sober. The donations they receive help rebuild families. They are helping me and others like me to get my life back on track.”

Rebecca remains hopeful for her future, hoping to find a job at a local factory so that she can provide a stable home for her children, but knows she can lean on the staff at the shelter long after she moves on. “You know that even when you leave, you’ll have a support system. I’ve got the best support system, and its here.”

In addition to monetary donations, the shelter is in need of donations of personal care items, such as general toiletries, laundry detergent, bleach and dryer sheets. To donate material goods, please contact Leslie MarNa at 314-423-7770 ext. 7723. Cash donations can be made online.

”Ready for a new challenge”: The Alton Salvation Army prepares job seekers for success

By: Sacre Ntumba and Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

It’s Friday July 1 and today, we are visiting The Salvation Army’s Alton corps. As an intern, this is my first visit to a Salvation Army community center, and I am struck by how welcoming the place is. Here, visitors are greeted by a warm and welcoming staff, and even the clients being helped seem to be happy to be here.

The Alton Worship and Community Center is a social services hub for this blue collar community, and today one of the thrice-weekly job training classes is about to take place. From the looks on the faces of everyone in this room, one can tell that these people have felt downtrodden and that the job search has taken a toll on them, but it is clear that this is a place of refuge and that they are hopeful that this training will help them find the job that will turn their life around.

On this particular morning, fifteen people of various ethnicities, education levels and professional backgrounds, ranging in age from early 20’s to maybe 60 years of age, are all gathered in the room. One young mother has her young children playing at her feet, while another takes diligent notes. Some wear casual clothing, while others are dressed for success, as if they are ready to interview at any moment. The attendees listen carefully as Christine Pavlow, of Hoylton Youth and Family Services teaches them how to prepare for the interview process and coaches them with a question and answer session.

After the lesson, the attendees break out into smaller groups and act out an interview with their classmates. Some do well, while one woman tears up as she has her mock interview and turns to the class saying, “This is how nervous I get in an interview.” Those that struggle have Christine and their classmates to turn to. Overall, many of those in attendance all seem to understand and employ the principles that Pavlow taught them, and for those that struggle, Christine coaches them through. On difficult questions, the whole class works to suggest a better answer for their classmates. As I watch this, I am truly struck by the way it felt like these people were all a part of a big family working toward one common goal, and how determined they seem that no one be left behind.

In the beginning it all looked like just another job class, which are becoming so common place in this down economy, but towards the end, the true spirit of The Salvation Army shone through, as we watched people work to help each other rise above.


Kansas City Chiefs tackle relief efforts in Joplin

By: Will Becker, Communications Director, Midland Division

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who leads his NFL team during the season, arrived inJoplinon June 23 and lead a group of more than 130 players, coaches and staff including General Manager Scott Pioli and President Mark Donovan in relief efforts.

Kansas City Chief punter Dustin Colquitt road through damaged neighborhoods in Joplin on a Salvation Army canteen delivering water to residents.

As part of those efforts, team officials took part in an early morning cleanup session with AmeriCorps, followed by a tour of the impacted area and then returned to greet fans at a Chiefs Fan Zone that had been set-up in a parking lot. The Zone featured inflatable play areas and games for kids, and despite the NFL lockout, players, coaches and executives sat together signing autographs and interacting with community members.

As some of his teammates were signing autographs in the Fan Zone, Kansas City punter Dustin Colquitt assisted a Salvation Army canteen (mobile kitchen) in the community by delivering bottled water and other beverages to those in the impacted area.  

However, this has not been just a one day event for the Chiefs.

“This just continues our multi-step outreach efforts to help our neighbors inJoplin,” explained Chuck Castellano, community relations manager for the Chiefs. “The whole organization really got behind this from the very beginning and is very committed to helping this area for some time to come.”

 Just days after the EF-5 tornado ripped through the town, the Chiefs hosted a two-day supply drive at Arrowhead Stadium. Fans generously filled semitrailers full of water bottles and other supplies. Two full truckloads of water and a box truck full of supplies were then delivered to The Salvation Army.

 “We could not have had a better partner than The Salvation Army,” said Castellano. “We knew that The Salvation Army would make the highest possible impact with the

Major Jerold Forney, Incident Commander for The Salvation Army's Joplin relief effort, met with Kansas City Chiefs players working to assist Joplin residents on Thursday.

donated items and make sure those in need got what they needed.”


Nearly 50 families who have lost their homes and jobs due to the May 22 tornado have been living at a near by camp site. A young tornado survivor introduces his new friends, two baby birds, who are also survivors of the tornado.

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