Speechless!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s how we feel at The Salvation Army here in Nashville.  Words cannot adequately describe how we feel when it comes to the contribution of time and talent from our amazing volunteers!  Thousands upon thousands of volunteers have entered our buildings seeking ways to give back since 1890 and for their service we are eternally grateful.

Every volunteer who holds the hand of a child, provides a shoulder to someone who weeps, wraps their arms around someone alone, serves a meal to someone who is hungry and shares a coat with someone who is cold has created impact not just for the moment but for life.  To those who have assisted with administrative duties,  fielded phone calls in our office,  coached sports, taught classes, sorted gifts at Christmas and rang bells for programs, you have planted the seeds of change in the lives of generations to come.jenny morgan

We pray, we do not miss a single name but we would like to thank the many volunteers who served over the past year.

*Our thanks to:

1st United Methodist of Springfield
Aaliyah Nicholson
Aaron Gumpenberger
Aim Health
Alena Lopez
Alesia Schultz
Alex Soundara
Alexander Gordon
Alexandria Robinson
Alice Ann Barge
Alice Walton
Alicia Fletcher
Alison Grewing and Friends
Alissa Price
Allison Smith
Alva Wilk
Alysia Jimcoily
Amanda Bennett Family
Amanda Bilbrey and Friend
Amanda Blackrd-Scott
Amanda Eblen and Friends
American Society of Civil Engineers
AmeriCorp
Amie Hinton-Robertson
Amy Barker
Amy Smotherman and Friends
Amy Steele
Anchor Artist
Andrea French
Andrea McCormick
Andrea Walter and Family
Andrea Yancey
Andrew La Haie
Andy Bonami
Angela and Doresha Blakely
Angela Maxie
Angela Simmons
Angela Simpson
Angela Suscha and Friends
Angela Weatherbie
Angelic Fredricks
Angelica Blanco
Angie Coonrod
Angie Kaczor
Angie Lex
Angie Wheeler
Anisha Longmire
Anita Hermes
Anita Malone
Ann Lawtonbach
Ann Middlebrook
Anna Dean and Friend
Anna Marie
Annie Crandall
Aresha Hilliard
Ariel Evans
Arron Bennett
Arthur and Jean Irvin
ASHE
Ashlea Byram
Ashley and Brian Oaks and Friend
Ashley Gorley
Ashley Johnson
Ashley Jones
Ashley Pennell
Asurion
AutoTrader.com
Avon Moore
Bailey Scogin
Baker Donelson Law
Banana Republic Factory Store
Bank of Nashville
Barabara Kinkead and Friends
Barbara Hern
Barbara Williamson
Barbara Wooten
Montgomery Bell Academy
Becca Fendley
Becca Ousler
Bechy Szymanski and Friends
Bell Hayden
Bella Culp
Belmont
Beth Ross
Beth Zaborny
Betty Ann Norling
Betty Douglas
Betty Johnson
Beverly Haulk
Biff Porter
Bill and Carolyn Hoffman
Bill Dick
Billie Brown and Friend
Billy Bartlett
Billy Fields
Billy Haley and Friends
BK Moore
BMI
Bob Crenshaw
Bob Porter
Bob Rittenberry
Boyle Group
Brandi Boyd
Brandi Simms
Brayhan Valencia
Breauna Hulbutta
Brenna Vanliere
Brennan Frazier
Brett Andacht
Brian Otuonye
Bridgestone
Briney Ramirez
Brittany Mason
Brittany Scott
Brittany Stultz
Brittany Toth and Friend
Bruce Roberts
Burt Powers
Caleb Gorley
Callie Smith
Cameron Dean
Cara Galyon
Carey Susan
Cari Hartlage
Carless Dance
Carmax
Carole and Tom Pulliam
Caroline Benoist and Friend
Caroline Glen
Caroline Sheridan
Carolyn Craig
Carolyn Yates
Carrie Matthews
Carrie Wilsman
CAT Financial
Cathy Childers
Cathy Shull
CC Lawncare
CCA
Celia Jones
Center for Student Ministry Mission Groups
Charity Collier
Charity Collier
Charles Bryan
Charles Yebuah
Charlie Finchum
Charlotte Hermes
Charlotte Witteler
Chelsea Kempchinsky
Chelsea Kennedy
Chivonne Peeler
Chris Ammerman
Chris Coombs
Chris Weinmann
Chrisitie Cardwell White and Friends
Christ Church
Christa Flanders
Christie Jones
Christina Fetherolf
Christina Harris
Christine and Bill Stevens
Christoper Parker Family
Christy Ashford
Christy Hood
Cieaira Covington
Cigna
Claire Miles
Claudia Smelser
Clay Faircloth
Comdata
Cornelius & Collins
Cornerstone Commercial Real Estate Services
Cornerstone Youth Ministries
Corps of Engineers
Courtney Gregg and Friend
Coysalt Service Church Group
Craig Joseph Famly
Crosspoint Church
Crossraods Church
Crosswinds Community Church
Crystal Downing and Friends
Cumberland University
Cummins
Cummins Filtration
Curhon Jamison
Dailia Adams
Dan Hogan and Friends
Dan Looper
Dana Leigh
Dana Zelenik
Dania Amin
DaNielle Arthurs
Danielle Broadrick
Dave Hart
Dave Ramsey Company
David Enzor
David Gomez
David Huggins
David Woodward
Davie Haggard
Dayna Lovelady
Deb Leinart
Debby Persch Family
Debra Mathis
Dee Coffman
Dee Dee Ralston
Deena Williamson
Deidre Butler
Dell
Dena Payne
Denise Jackson
Dennis and Vickie Osmera
Derek Evert
Desiree Keoneth
Desiree Moore
Devon Hymare
Diamond Carter
Diana Whiddon
Diane Curtis
Diane Smith
Diersen Charities
Dillon Briscoe
Dismas House
Dixie Heagy
Don Brown
Dona Dyer
Donna Barber
Donna Coode
Donna Palmer
Dottie Heteal
Doug Remke and Family
Dustin Wilson
Dusty Knapp
Dylan Treloar
Ed and Victoria Novi
Eddie and Sandy McLemore
Edma Salyer
EJ Boyson
El Marie Skipper
Eleanor Bass
Elizabeth Weller
Ellen Randall
Ellen Sadler
Eloise Ferguson
Emdeon
Emily Kroll
Eno Eyo
Epsworth UMC
Erica McManus and Friends
Erika Cravath
Erin Gordon
Erin Rion
Etta Wilson
Eve Hinz
Evelyn Anderson
Everton and Eboni Herron
Fabra Belk
FIS, Inc.
Ford
Frances Neal
Frances Neal and Friends
Frances Ragland
Frank and Diann Harden
Frank John Potter
Frank Wilk
Fred Smith
Gabrielle Eliott
Gail Pusey
Garrett Wright
Gary Slaughter
Gayle Cherry
Gayle Streeter and Family
Genee Spears
Genesco
Gerry and Judy Lonsway
Gina McKinless
Ginnie Donaldson
Ginny Mayes
Ginny Newell and Family
Girl Scout Troop 1115
Glasko Smith Line
Glenda Bashor
Gloria B. Gillespie
Goodlettsville Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Gordon Chavez
Grady Douglas
Greater Church of Nashville
Gus and Carolyn Gustafson
Hailey Treloar
Hannah Greeley
Hastings Company
HCA-Finance
HCA-HR and IT
Heath Herrington
Heather Johnson
Heather McGlothlin
Heather Patton
Heather Sczepczenski
Heather Thomason
Heidi White
Helen Dale
Home 2 Suites by Hilton
Honey Rodgers
Hope Kenerly
Ina Hitt
Inglewood Baptist Church
Ingram Entertainment
Invested Productions
Irene Oquendo
Iron Mountain Inc.
ISDS
Jack Cook
Jacquelaine Vest
Jaime and Brad Waldschmidt
Jame Oquin
James Devine
James Devine
Jamestown UMC
Jane Haynes and Family
Jane Tacker and Family
Janet and John Giglione
Janet Harvill
Janet Keith
Jarad Pennell
Jared Wall
Jasmine Harris
Jason Shain Pachter and Friend
Jay Fleming
Jean Hart
Jean Parlavecchio
Jeni. N. Waldrop
Jennifer Bridgeforth
Jennifer Lamroeaux and Friends
Jenny Kitchen
Jermeka Grace
Jerry Herman
Jeseca Spencer
Jessalynn Whyte
Jessica Emery
Jessica Harvey
Jessica Hudson
Jessica Summers
Jessie Wiens
Jesue Flemin
Jill C. Baker
Jill Jones and Friends
Jillian Zurliene
Jimmy SpradleyJimmy Wayne
Joan Jones
JoAnn Washington
Joanne Slaughter
Johanna Turner
John Anderson
John Duncan and Friends
Johnny Phipps
Jonathan Maharaj
Josh Riebel
Josh Windham
Joshua Wilson
Joslyn Alvarez
Joyce Jeffers
Joyce Vorhees
Judi Echols
Judie and Ben Snyder
Judy Wiens
Julia Cantrell
Julia Harrison
Julia Howley
Julia Spalding
Julia Yeager
Julie Cantrell
Julie Griffin
June Manning
K. Alexis Gunn and Friends
Kaitlyn Parks
Kala Ealy
Karen Bambas
Karen Morlan
Katherine Jabbi
Kathy Davis
Katrina Coomer
Katrina Hurt
Katy Robbins
Kavon Seay
Kayce Boyd
Keith and Tennessee Hoffman
Keith Grant
Keith Ridley
Kelly Hibbet and Friends
Kelly Maupin
Kelly Woodis
Kelsey Vickers
Ken O’Shea
Ken Warren
Kendra Gipson and Friends
Kenny and Angeta Vetetoe
Kevin Buchanan
Kevin Lake
Kevin Miller
Kevin Wolf
Kiara Henry
Kim Brake
Kim Winters
Kimberly Anderson and Friend
Kimberly Vega
Kirk Martin
Kiwanis Club
Kristi Sweeney
Kristina Clohesy
Kristina Lorenz
Kristy Denson
Kroger
Landon Southerland
LaQuita Carter
La’Tosha Phillips
LaTrece and Cierra Brown
Laura Bush and Friends
Laura Greer
Laura Huftless
Laura Ketola
Laura Miles
Laura Robertson
Laura Starnes
Laurel Kroder and Friends
Lauren Cassity
Lauren Griffin
Lauren Levy
LaVondia Careter
LaVondia Jones
LEAD Academy
Lee Bartlett
LeeAnn Woodby
Len and Carolyn Manley
Lena Boyd
Leslie Nelson and Friends
Leslie Watt
Let It Shine Gymnastics
Libbey Reggans
Lightning Source Inc.
Lillie Turner
Linda and Ed Cox
Linda and Ralph Green
Linda Faye Gray
Linda Hendon
Linda Satterwright
Lindsay Mihalcik
Lindsey Bradley
Lindsey Hyde
Lipscomb University
Lisa Blake
Lisa Gordon
Lisa Thompson
Lisa Torrens and Family
Lisa Zekany
Liz Turner
Lorna Schmittou Karr and Friend
Lu Rocker
Lucinda Weatherford
Lucy Carpentar
Luke Franks
Lyndhurst Community Church
Lynn Perry
Magan Dobbs and Friend
Maggie Bailey
Mandy Roberts
Marc Porter
Marci Munchak
Margaret Thomas
Marge Janiak
Marge Showers
Marianne DeMeyers
Marie Alexander
Marie Fugua
Mark Russell
Markeela Johnson
Markisha Thompson
Marsha Reeder
Martha Davis
Marty May
Mary Ann Somers and Friends
Mary Bennett
Mary Bowles
Mary Cunningham
Mary Ellen Vanderwilt
Mary Emily Powell
Mary Emily Thomas
Mary Evelyn Denton
Mary Hamilton Chestnut
Mary Katherine Barranco
Mary McDonald
Mary Morley
Mary Oneal
Mary Wallace
Mason Riley
Matt Clinard
Matt Keffer
McKensey Crawford
Megan Jacobs
Megan Welshofer
Mei Zhi
Melanie Jay
Melanie Wright
Melissa Chamberlain
Melissa Humphres
Melissa Stephenson and Friend
Mendi and Brian McCord
MeRita Vest
Metro Government
Michael Miller
Michele Brown
Michelle Cutright
Michelle Evans
Michelle Mansour
Mickey Clark and Friends
Mickey Harrison
Misty Antomattei
Mix 92.9
Molly Dend and Friends
Mona Thompson
Monique Hodges
Monique Reed and Friends
MOPS
Morgan Petek
Mother Daughter Serving Circle
Mount Juliet Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Ms. Bonnie
Mt. Juliet Christian Academy
Mt. Zion Church Youth Group
MTSU
Murica Mixon
Myra Leathers
Nadja Ritter
Nancy Goggins and Friends
Nancy Hopper
Nashville Chamber of Commerce
Nashville Fire Department
Nashville Predators
Nashville Sounds
Natalie Buckwalter and Friend
Natalie Raketich
Nathan Hurlbert
Nathan Ratcliff
Nedrianna Brunt
Nelson and Mullins
Nicole Knott
Nicole Langlois
Nicole Spaller
North Highland
Oasis Center
OHCU
Omar Childress
Omari Whyte
Optuminsight
Paige Bingham
Pam Atwell
Pam Beziat
Pam Sheridan
Pamela Langston
Parallon
Pat and Joe McCauley
Pat and Steve Seale
Pat Mynatt
Patricia Gill and Friend
Patricia Lane
Patricia Michael
Patricia Netherly
Patsy Wergel
Patty Hendricks
Patty Jones
Paul Hendricks
Paula Chesser
Peggy Carpenter
Peggy Raney
Peggy Smith
Peggy Studney
Phi Beta Sigma
Phillip Waters
Phyllis Madsen
Piper Black
Polly Linden and Family
Power Consulting
Prologis
Quiniesha Herndon
Rachel Ansley
Rachel Early
Rachel Southerland
Rachel Stevens
Ramsey Raybeck
Randi Butler
Randy Johnson
RaShonda Harris
Ravenwood High School
Ray Hayles
Ray Lowe and Friends
Rayna Ritter
Rebecca and Katie Appleton
Regen Byrd
Regina, Autumn, and Cody Glass
Rehobeth UMC
Rena Johnson
Renata Dash
Renata Dash’s Girl Scout Troop
Renay Chavez
Renee Orlando
Renita Burgett
Rev Davis
Revolution Church
Rhoer Club
Richard Prescott
Robin Alexander
Robin Corindo
Robin Levine
Ron Harmon
Rosalind Reid
Rosaline Mills
Rose Shaw
Rosemary Boone
Ruby Hampton
Ruth Cannon
Ruth Stockell
Ryan Kilpatrick
Sadie Gorley
Sally Galloway and Friend
Sam Harwell
Sandra Broadnax and Friends
Sandy and Eddie McLemore
Sandy Bergquist
Sandy Stephenson
Sara Christi
Sara Hooker
Sarah Carpenter
Sarah Christie
Sarah Educate
Sarah Logan
Sarena Egan
Scott Piersa
Scottesna Henderson
Sertoma Club
Shade Tree Clinic
Shannon and Dan Eldridge
Shannon Collins
Sharon Clayborn
Sharon Simmons
Shashi Menon
Sherry Gray
Sherry Howell
Sherry Templeton
Sheryl Day and Friends
Shetika Raymer
Shirley K. Fletcher
Sierra Pruitt
Sina’e Verner
Sonny and Joann Ponder
Southwestern Group
Specialty Cares
Stacey Darron
Stacy Toumie
State of TN Treasury Dept.
Stephanie Dunavant
Stephanie Jacobs
Stephanie Logan
Stephanie Murray
Stephanie Russell
Stephen Austin Carter
Stephen Carter
Steve and Deb LaForge
Stoner Creek Elementary
Sue Edwards
Sue Smith
Sue Strayhorn
Suntrust Bank
Susan Albano
Susan Creagh
Susan Foster and Family
Susie Woolwine
Suzanne Hurt
Sylvia Nodoni and Family
Sylvia Whitefield
Tammy Key
Tammy Sykes
Tankia Hale
Tanya Gilyard and Family
Tanya Wilson
Taquonna Little
Tately Jennings
Taylor Fields
TDOT
Tennessee State University
Tennessee Titans
Teresa Beaty
Terri Sneed and Friend
The Downey Family
The Foss Family and Friends
The Malone Family
The Michael Family
The Nashville Choir
The Ranch
The Salvation Army Advisory Board
The Salvation Army Women’s Auxillary
The West Family
Theresa Merril
Theresa Portilla
Theresa Treloar
Tia Charles and Family
Tie Odom
Tiffany Bearden
Tim Holmes
Tim Underwood
Timothy Logan
Timothy Woody
Tina Morris
Tina Morris
Tina Pugh and Family
Tina Tuggle
Tisha Hood and Family
TN Air National Guard
TOA
Tonya Holland
Tonya Reed
Torey Henry
Tracy Frazier
Tracy Jabbar
Tracy Spence
Trevecca Nazarene University
Trey Smith
Trish and Mitch Parker
Trisha Blackburn
Tristar Health
Troy Slay
TSA Berry Street Corp Members
TSA Citadel Corp Youth Group
TSA Hispanic Corp Members
TSA Laotian Corp Members
Twyla Copedge
Tyler Spradling
Ulonda Whitehead
United Way
University of Dayton Alumni
University of Phoenix
University of Tennessee Alumni
UPS
Valerie Wilson
Vanderbilt Atheltics
Vanderbilt School of Medicine
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt’s Presbyterian Student Fellowship
Vanderbilty Sports Medicine
Vanessa Fry
Vanguard Health Systems, Inc.
Virginia Ripey
Walker Mathews/RC Mathews
Wanda and Jennifer Dunlap
Wanda Jeans
Webb School
Wells Fargo
Wendy Collier
Wendy Rutherford
Wendy Vanliere
Whites Creek High School AFJROTC
Word Entertainment
Wray Estes
WSMV
Yasmin Harris
Yeissa Irizarry and Friend
YMCA of Mid. TN
YMCA of Mid. TN Boys and Girls Club
Zack Deck
Zander El-Hindi
Zion Missionary Church
Zyria Harris

*names are based on sign in sheets for events/programs, etc.

Dancing in the Rain

rain showrrWe are now making our way through the month of April!  Spring is here and with that comes rain showers that help to saturate the ground with the much needed moisture that will enable plants to grow.  You’ve heard the saying “April Showers bring May Flowers” and you’ve seen it come to pass.  Once a rain soaked April exits, a warm and colorful May arrives with a myriad of beautiful flowers as far as the eye can see and the leaves of every tree sporting thick, healthy leaves, filling in the spaces that winter helped to create.

Does this happen overnight?  No, it’s days upon days of rain mixed with sunshine, a much needed combination for plant life to grow.  Plants need the sun for energy which plays a vital role in the process, photosynthesis.  Because of the sun and the energy they derive, they can grow and thrive.  Without rain, a plant would die, it’s root system disfiguring, thus the wilting effect occurs.  Water helps to drive key nutrients from the soil into and throughout the plant.  Water also helps to regulate the temperature of the plant through the photosynthesis process and is stored in the roots of the plant, moving up to the leaves as necessary.

IMG_0036At The Salvation Army, we meet many individuals who are wilting from the burdens of life.  Financial, personal, relational situations can deplete and pull from us in ways that disable us from truly living or believing we have any worth. Through the various programs we offer, we strive to provide the necessary “nutrients” to those who seek our help.  We encourage them to be patient, that changes don’t happen overnight but soon enough they will see their lives bloom right before their eyes and they will never be the same.  We pour into them with love, compassion, understanding, resources and tools.  We allow them to not only see their true potential but realize it.  Our Life Skills Learning Center offers free classes to our community that can help someone get back on their feet and reach new heights of personal development.  Computer classes, resume writing, job readiness, GED are among many of the classes offered.  Our Transitional housing program for single men, single women and families offers a refuge and opportunity to those who would otherwise be homeless; enabling them to find stability and the chance to pick themselves back up, readjust and eventually transition from our program to a home of their own.

As the rain falls and the clouds roll in, it’s difficult to muster the energy to celebrate, to dance when it feels like the world is caving in around you.  The good news is, the rain will pass, the clouds will depart and the sun will shine.  So go ahead and find the joy in the rain, trust and believe that you are growing and that your breakthrough is right around the corner.  God has you in the palm of his hand!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Go Fish!

602342_4236887278198_1303048187_nPicture this, the sun has yet to make it’s appearance as you walk toward your trusty wooden boat, it’s painted sides peeling from years of use.  You set your tackle box on the floor of the boat, position your fishing poles just right so they don’t get tangled and with both hands on the oars gently paddle out into the mist filled morning.  As you glide through the mirror like waters, you count the silver ripples that billow across the top of the water with each strike of the oar, you breathe in the fresh air and admire the hint of gold that is making it’s way up out of the horizon.  You stop and anchor in the perfect spot, collect your rod and reel, and after securing the bait, cast and listen for the sound of the hook making contact with the water.  Minutes or hours can pass but all the while, you savor the solitude, the sounds, the breeze that peacefully rocks the boat and the beauty of rocky shorelines, stately pine trees and the occasional wildlife who make their way to the water’s edge for a refreshing drink.  Suddenly, you feel the pull and your rod bends with the weight that is on the other end.  With practiced movements, you begin to reel it in, carefully, methodically and then, soon, a large bright, silver fish appears out of the depths of the lake and into your boat.  The entire day produces several fish which ends up being enough to feed your family that night along with the fresh vegetables you planted in the garden. You smile at the joy of learning, practicing and achieving a skill, that in essence is providing a much needed meal for your family.

Now, which is more exciting and beneficial, to sit in the boat after careful preparation and catch your own fish or for someone to hand you a couple of fish and say “there you go, enjoy.”  What is more rewarding, what enables you to achieve more, which one can you pass down to your children and teach?”IMG_4856

At The Salvation Army, within our Life Skills Learning program,we  want to provide the resources (tackle box), tools (fishing pole), patience, love and hope (Jesus) to those who seek us out wanting to make a change in their lives. If someone is hungry we will feed them and immediately fill the need but then we quickly show them how they too can meet that need through commitment, patience, planning and practice.  We provide opportunities for them to learn skills that will free them from dependence to independence and will enable them to reach new heights on their own which becomes their own personal ministry and testimony for others to observe and learn from.

Many broken and lost souls find their way to our doors, many have failed to hold down a job, put food on the table or a roof over the heads of their families.  But once they enter our programs and follow through with what is offered, they exit our doors with heads held high and with fishing pole in hand, head out into the world just as the sun is rising, casting what they have learned, patiently awaiting the expected results.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie 

Love Will Always Live Here

familyWe are nearing the end of February and as you may or may not have noticed, our “Love Lives Here” posts have been sporadic at best.  Within the realms of any non profit, you will find that employees generally wear many different hats and are responsible for a myriad of various duties that are all equally important for the common good of the organization as a whole.  At times, one particular area may demand more attention than the other and thus the focus needs to be readjusted for a moment.  But, here I am to close out the month and let you know that no matter how busy all of us become, no matter how many “to do” items are on our list minus the check marks to signify they are complete, no matter the meetings that need attending or the papers that need filing or the forms that need submitting, every single employee and officer never fails to catch a vision of the lives being impacted and changed here at The Salvation Army.

Even if we are in a meeting, a client or employee (past and present) can walk by and we stop what we’re doing to offer hugs, smiles and conversation with a friend!  As we diligently type away on reports, memos, or the completion of a grant, we will always stop, get up and walk around to see what’s happening around the building, to see if we can’t snag an opportunity to bounce a basketball with some youth at our community center, admire the beautiful artwork of students in our after school program or read stories to infants and toddlers here in our transitional housing program.

We could have meetings scheduled all day, but will intentionally carve out time so we can come in early and feed our “street family” girl fishingbreakfast on board our Breakfast Brigade, stay late and work with adults in our GED and computer classes or feed the homeless under the Jefferson street bridge with our Soup Wagon program. During the holidays, staff and officers can be found on Thanksgiving and Christmas serving meals to the homeless at our 631 Dickerson Pike location and even driving a bus to head out and collect those who may not have a means to get here.  During Angel Tree, we are working 10-12 hour days without realizing it because of the love we have for the families we are serving.  The temps can be cold, the wind can blow and the rain can fall, but you can find us ringing bells, sharing the sound of hope with those around us encouraging them to donate change for change in the lives of  our brothers and sisters.

The beauty of the team we have here in Nashville is we all pitch in, we all come to the aid of another, we are here to uphold and support the mission and most importantly encourage and love those we have the honor of serving through the various programs we offer.  Love will always live here as long as we keep God first, seeking his wisdom and guidance in all things.  God is love; a true example for us all and so throughout the year and for years to come, love will be here.  It will be here when we hold the hand of another lifting them out of the pit of despair and onto solid ground built on a foundation of hope.  It will be here as employees and officers support one another in our respective fields; edifying, encouraging and helping when times become challenging.  It will be here when a lost soul walks through our door, seeking to know the truth and we have the chance to share how much God loves them and how on a cross, Jesus died for them, a sacrifice of love so that they may know true freedom.

Love lives here, love lives everywhere.  It’s not just a word to be spoken but an action to be taken.

Blessings to you all!

Beauty? It’s in the Bag!

trash 7Many of us may not even think twice as we lift the top off the trash can, grab hold of the bag contained within and head out the door to deliver it to the dumpster awaiting it’s arrival outside.

Many of us would probably not take the time to really study the bag itself, it’s strength and it’s shine.  It’s innate ability to contort and shape itself around that which we shove in it, day after day.  Then, it’s ability to withstand the trip from the trash can to the dumpster with out breaking under pressure, although some inevitably do because the contents became too much.

Now, picture an individual that people pass by day after day, not focusing in on what he or she is going through.  Not catching a vision as to their talents and their strengths.  A lot can become piled up in their lives and for many years, they may hold on, but soon enough, they break under pressure with no one to help them pick up the pieces.  That is where The Salvation Army steps in and with various programming geared at lifting up, teaching and encouraging people, transforming lives from ashes to beauty.  Individuals and families are provided with hope and a new way to look at their lives.  They are more than what they seem and with resources, love and most importantly God in their lives, there isn’t anything they can’t achieve.

So here we are at our Women’s Auxiliary luncheon, 2 weeks ago and at the podium, we enjoyed a moving and heartfelt testimony from Pamela Abdalla, an Advisory Board member for The Salvation Army in Pittsburgh, and on The Salvation Army National Advisory Board.  Pamela shared on her love for The Salvation Army and for the work being done providing, “second chances to those who need it the very most.”  She also remarked that The Salvation Army is “quietly efficient and remarkably effective” with the tools and resources we have.  That said, Pamela decided over 20 years ago to raise awareness for the cause and the families that we serve by transforming ordinary trash bags into evening gowns fit for a gala event that would raise money to support the mission and insight into the challenges facing our community and how through The Salvation Army, people are being radically changed!trash 5

An ironing board sat in the middle of the room and with even, well practiced strokes, Pamela showed us how to flatten out and design dresses out of garbage bags.  She created ribbons, pleats and ruffles that resulted in ooo’s and ahhh’s from the audience.  She displayed a hand crocheted garbage bag dress that was beyond intricate and dazzling and explained that women as well as men enjoyed this gala, donning garbage bag cummerbunds, bow ties and vests!  At each of these galas, pictures and thank you cards from the families served at The Salvation Army were trash 2placed at the tables for each guest to read through, enabling them to gain a greater understanding of why they were there.

Hosting a “Garbage Bag Gala” or any other type of creative event is a wonderful way to engage your community and enlighten them to the cause.  While always seeking the correlation between the event and the mission, never failing to remember why it is we do what we do.  It’s all about Others and how we can serve!

Need Some Inspiration – Part II

Welcome to Part II in our Need Some Inspiration series!  You met Daniel, now we’d love for you to meet Sarah Mallory!
I met Sarah a couple of years ago at church and she was nothing short of sweetness mixed with sunshine.  Sarah loves life and treasures opportunities where she can give back and help others.  Sarah has been a runner since high school and shared with me this year that she is excited to participate in this years Bridge 2 Bridge race.  So, how did Sarah get into running?  Why does she do it? And why does she support The Salvation Army?  Well, here she is!
“I had been jogging here and there since I was a senior in high school and then one day got a running guide book and followed its suggested program that guaranteed running at a faster consistent pace. I followed it exactly and in 10 short weeks was off and never looked back. I began running consistently in 2008 and have since run 5k’s, 10k’s, and 1/2 marathons. My long term goals are to continue to improve my pace and time as well as mileage. A goal is to run a full marathon in 2013 and to also complete a 1/2 marathon per year.
I look forward to running every week about 3 times a week due to the time it allows me to be with myself, my thoughts,  and my breathing.  I find that with each run especially a long one, I feel so much more relaxed and confident. As a mother of a 10 month old and a social worker with a busy schedule, running gives me time to myself and to achieve my fitness goals.  I also love running because I can take it anywhere I go and I love to explore new routes and roads to run. For me running is the one of the most worthwhile activities I can do and plan run as long as my body allows it!
Running also provides me with quiet time to be with God and to see nature and all of the beauty of the great outdoors. There have been times I didn’t think I could keep going the extra mile when training for half marathons and I know it was  God who helped get me through it as he does with all of my obstacles!
This race is so appealing to me just knowing it can assist in helping families enjoy Christmas and have hope. Promoting awareness about the The Salvation Army Angel Tree program can hopefully further encourage our community to help these families out and let children celebrate Christmas this year.
I believe all runners at any pace or distance are still runners and sometimes just getting on your running shoes and registering for the race is the hardest part. There are always others to compliment your pace and goals and you’re never alone! It ends up being so much fun and such an accomplishment, while always serving great causes. It’s totally normal to feel nervous at first..but once you get into your run..see folks cheering you on..and have your vision in mind, it’s all worth it. I will say that running can be addicting though…so watch out ,this race more than likely, wont be your last one!”
Join Sarah and countless other racers on December 1 as we run for angels at the Bridge 2 Bridge 4 mile race/1 mile walk to benefit The Salvation Army!  For more information on registering and/or fund raising for this event, please click here!

Walk With Me

Thanksgiving Day is when we give thanks and reflect on our blessings.  Many have posted daily gratefulness leading up to and including Thanksgiving via social media, commercials reflect families gathering together around a large table adorned with food as far as the eye can see, a roaring fireplace in the background, candles flickering in grandmother’s silver candlestick holders.  Everyone has a smile, everyone is comfortable.  But that is not always the case.  Walk with me, and I’ll show you.

There are many who look at Thanksgiving as just another day amidst the chaos they are enduring.  This chaos can include loss of a job/income, family and your home.  It can include wondering where your next shower, meal and a bed will come from.  It can include not having an ounce of hope left.  On Thanksgiving morning, I climbed onto our mid bus and with Mike Servais, Ex Dir of Marketing and Development at the wheel, we set off in search of finding folks who were hungry and had nowhere to go on this holiday that when defined, means togetherness.

We drove down the various downtown streets of Nashville and came across a park where many were gathered, bundled up with plastic grocery sacks containing all they have in the world.  Mike parked the bus and walked over to where they were sitting.  He asked “who was hungry, that we have a feast waiting for them and we will bring them back here afterward.”  Many got up out of their seat and shuffled over to the bus.  They selected a seat, smiles on their faces.  Folks from every walk of life and background were on that bus.  Conversations started and many met for the first time, chatting candidly about their lives, the weather and who their favorite football team was.

I remember looking out the window and catching a glimpse of a very nice restaurant. on the corner  Individuals, dressed in their best, waiting patiently outside for the doors to open so they could be escorted to their table and then served their meal amongst friends and family.  Then I looked back at our passengers.  These folks will get to do the same thing at our Center of Hope down the street.  They are wearing the best they have, they will be greeted at the door and shown to their table, they will be waited on and will have the opportunity to relax, eat until they are full and be surrounded by friends.

As I stood in our dining room, tears started to fall as I watched each and every person enjoy their meal.  Some chose to eat in silence, savoring every morsel of stuffing, the richness of the turkey and the tartness of the cranberry sauce.  Others talked the time away as they hurriedly ate in anticipation of the next plate that would be handed to them.  I watched all of the smiles, the hugs, the thankfulness they displayed at this meal provided to them and how grateful they were for the love.  It was the most beautiful thing to watch and I can’t imagine being around a greater bunch of people.  I was blessed and honored just to be in their presence and I pray that we all take the time to stop what we’re doing and make time for others.

Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in”