…really, we would love to know!! This was a campaign we started last year, visiting college campuses, touching base with people on the street; asking them, “Do you know the red shield?” And believe it or not, so many people are unaware of what goes on here at The Salvation Army. In fact, once people become aware of what we do, they have referred to us as the best kept secret in town!
So, hence the reason for this blog today! We want to let the folks know what is happening here and around the world when it comes to the inner workings of The Salvation Army. So many people see the familiar shield at work during times of disaster especially most recently as officers conducted countless interviews with the media in light of this horrific catastrophe in Haiti. And from these interviews and video footage, many people have come to know more about “The Red Shield” and what it is we do not only in the US within the inner city neighborhoods and surrounding towns, but in the world! We are currently serving in over 117 countries and within those countries we are providing schooling, counseling, food, medicine and most importantly hope to those populations who feel that life has passed them by or dealt them a devastating blow with no chance of recovery. The Salvation Army has been restoring the human spirit since 1865 and without hesitation, we are there to meet the need at the time of need no matter the circumstances.
All around the world, you will find The Salvation Army has many different kinds of programs in place but the common theme of “Doing the Most Good” is prevalent and unrelenting. We offer Transitional Housing programs for homeless families, single women and single men. This is designed to transfer individuals or families out of homelessness into stability and permanent housing. This is not a shelter but rather an opportunity to grow, learn and be encouraged as one seeks to make better choices and experience life change whether it’s escaping a domestic violence situation, drug or alcohol abuse, etc. They are assigned case managers who assist them in attending classes that are best suited to their situation, to provide the tools and resources needed to advance forward in their life. In many locations we have on site child care centers in which to provide a safe environment for the little ones as the parent seeks employment for full time schooling. Our center here in Nashville is called Kare for Kids and for the past 3 years has maintained a 3 Star rating which is the highest you can get when it comes to child care centers.
For decades, The Salvation Army has been providing fresh, hot meals to those who were hungry all over the world via our stationary or mobile kitchens. Here in Nashville, we feature the Breakfast Brigade which serves a hot breakfast every Tuesday morning from 8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. and on Friday nights, the Soup Wagon serves soup, sandwiches and other delectable items to folks under the Jefferson Street bridge from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Our community centers flourish throughout the world enabling children in at risk areas to have a safe haven or refuge from the elements that have the power to sweep them up in their grasp. These centers differ in what they offer whether it;s educational classes, mentoring programs, bible studies, creative arts, computer labs or sports. Here in Nashville our Red Shield Kids Club has been actively serving the children of East Nashville since 1940 and continues to provide kids with a place to go to in order to find structure, homework assistance, exercise and most importantly love.
Emergency or Direct Services is available all over the world as well, which consists of rent/mortgage assistance, food boxes, utility assistance, clothing vouchers, furniture vouchers or job boards. Individuals can walk into our offices or set appointments where upon as funding allows, we can assist with keeping people in their homes, the heat or air kept on along with lights and water. SA makes sure that families have food to eat, beds to sleep in and clothes to keep cool or retain warmth.
Ahhh….that familiar sound of a ringing bell! Yes, The Salvation Army is known the world over for our red kettles and never ending bell ringing that usually begins around the middle of Thanksgiving and comes to a close at Christmas. Started in San Francisco, CA in 1891 by Captain Joseph McFee, the kettle sensation spread like wildfire and soon enough, you could find them on every street corner or in front of major establishments all over the world. The proceeds from these kettles go directly to their respective Corps (churches) and is used to fund various programs and activities for the elderly and youth. Along with those famous red buckets, SA founded the Angel Tree program back in 1976 and the phenomenon of placing children’s names on Christmas trees all over a city with needs and wishes; available for adoption took off and is practiced world wide. Nothing is more special than to see the eyes of a child as they enter their living room and suddenly spot several gifts under the tree just for them and courtesy of the community in which they live. Last year, SA in Nashville served over 14,000 individuals with Christmas love and it was all because of you!
These are just some examples of the many facets of The Salvation Army diamond. It shines ever so brilliantly when the Son is present because our foundation and mission is based and lived out by this statement, “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”
What we are able to accomplish is because of God’s favor and love…from this he has blessed us with incredible donors and volunteers who selflessly give of themselves to those who are in need no matter the need. Through the money that is received or the time of a volunteer that is donated, lives are changed forever and hope is regained within the individuals served. Purpose is birthed and new beginnings are inevitable!! Thank you all for your gift on behalf of the millions served every year all over the world!!!!