Tag Archives: volunteerism

Using Your Gifts to Give Back


Volunteers assemble a basketball hoop outside the O'Fallon homeless shelter.

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

The Salvation Army is doing BIG thing in the St. Louis area and we need your help! From providing shelter to the homeless, to tutoring children in after-school programs that keep them in school and off the streets, we work hard to continue DOING THE MOST GOOD every day, but because we work so diligently to use our resources wisely, we are dependent on the time and money donations of our volunteers and donors to carry out our mission.

Here are some ways we can put you to work in 2012:

  • Do you have a gift for teaching or tutoring? Our shelters and corps community centers are always looking for tutors.
  • Can you paint or draw? Come brighten up our youth spaces with your pictures!
  • Are your gifts in the area of manual labor? We can use your talents in repairing facilities and maintaining our grounds.
  • Are you a foodie who finds cooking therapeutic? We can put you to work in one of our kitchens – and our clients will be glad to enjoy your gourmet fare!
  • Is fitness your passion? Our Gateway community center is looking for ongoing volunteers to host aerobics classes, or to teach sporting leagues.
  • Are you professionally successful in your field and want to share your story with teens considering their career options?
  • Are you an accountant? We can pair you with senior citizens to assist with taxes.
  • Do you sing or play an instrument? We have several corps in need of musicians to play at worship services. We always need musicians

In short – whatever your gift may be, we can put you to work doing good in the St. Louis area – and we welcome your partnership. Reach out and let us put you to work doing good today!


Volunteers Needed – No, YOU are needed

By: Sheila R. Davis, Volunteer Coordinator

Have you ever read the volunteer opportunities listed by an organization and thought, “hmm, nothing here applies to my skills and/or interest?”  For various reasons (often monetary, time and or staff limitations, etc.,) non-profits post what can appear to be generic position descriptions.  Instead of being the end point, I believe these position descriptions can be a jumping off point to match talented, creative volunteers with meaningful projects. However, it will take effort for organizations and potential volunteers to make this happen. 

The next time you come across a volunteer opportunity that doesn’t seem to fit your interests or skills, don’t just move on.  Think about it; maybe the position can be tweaked to better match your skills or maybe the description can be a springboard to another opportunity tailor made for your skill set.  For example an organization has an opening for a food pantry volunteer. Maybe stocking shelves is not your cup of tea, but you have experience as a dietician.  You could offer your services to educate the pantry clients on cost effective ways to make healthy, nutritious meals on limited budget.  An organization lists a position as “youth activities aide”, you may not have experience working with children or teens, but you’re a computer programmer.  You could offer to teach a workshop on Programming 101. Who knows, you may end up inspiring the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.  Let’s say you have experience in Human Resources, you could offer to help the Volunteer Coordinator (hint, hint) update the current volunteer descriptions or create new ones.

Experts call this “skills-based volunteering”, which means leveraging the specialized skills and talents of individuals to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofits, helping them build and sustain their capacity to successfully achieve their missions.

There are many benefits to skill based volunteering for both the organization and for the volunteer. The nonprofit is able to take advantage of the volunteer’s professional knowledge and business expertise and, at the same time, the volunteer receives cost-effective training and development. For volunteers, skills-based volunteering provides the opportunity to use their expertise to make a measurable impact on issues they care about.

To learn more about skills based volunteering, click here.

To learn more about volunteering with The Salvation Army in Missouri and Southern Illinois, click here.

A cup of cold water in Jesus’ name


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.

Feeling the Pain: One addict learns to experience life, good and bad

By: Danni Eickenhorst, MidlandDivision, Content Specialist

Phil George turned 18 in the Illinois Juvenile Correction System. He entered adulthood battling mental illness, addiction and ghosts from his early days. At 16, he was kicked out of his childhood home. Suffering from parental rejection and abuse, he turned to borderline behaviors and had been jailed for burning down a house in an insurance scheme.

Phil works to fill food orders at the Alton Salvation Army food pantry.

Upon exiting the system, George found himself homeless and turned to using drugs. He entered into The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light facility in downtown St. Louis, where he stayed nearly four months. “I wasn’t ready to get help yet, but they showed me a lot of love,” he recalls.

Each time he would get sober, tragedy would strike, sending him into a tailspin that would jeopardize his sobriety. He suffered the loss of a best friend, and two girlfriends, and became haunted by the losses.  “Old Phil would show up. I would relapse, try to commit suicide, stop going to meetings and volunteering,” he said.

Today, Phil is sober and has been for almost five years. “I stay clean for my grandmother,” he says, choking up, “I stole from her when I was in my addiction, and I feel that staying clean is the only way I can make it up to her, now that she has passed away.” Phil attends 12-step meetings several times weekly and finds comfort in daily routines, such as volunteering three to four days each week at The Salvation Army’s food pantry inAlton. “Here I am surrounded by positive people. It’s been good for me. I have a support system,” says George, “I have learned to feel the pain, both good and bad, and to get through it, and having that support has made all the difference.”

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