Jan 1, 2023

year in review


What a year! We felt the love from the Memphis & the Mid-South throughout 2022.

Last spring and summer, several volunteer groups joined us on our mobile canteen outings to feed vulnerable communities across Memphis. We are so thankful to those who helped pack and distribute lunches, even as the temperatures began to rise in the summer months. Because of you, we were able to feed our neighbors in need both physically and spiritually.

In May, we rallied volunteers and community partners to help with our Kettle365 Telethon. You showed that The Salvation Army works to meet human needs in every season, all year-round!

As the summer came to a close, we held a back-to-school supply drive where volunteers helped distribute hundreds of backpacks to students in Memphis. With your help we were able to make sure youth in our community started their school year right!

In the fall, volunteers helped us gear up for a busy holiday season by assisting with Angel Tree Registration. By the end of October, 4,800 of families were signed up to receive gifts for Christmas.

As the temperatures dropped, the number of volunteers signing on to support us grew. 200 Angel Tree Warehouse volunteers, 182 Angel Tree Distribution volunteers, and 203 bellringers helped us to bring love and Christmas cheer to families facing financial hardships.

Thank you for helping us to Do the Most Good. We can't wait to partner with you again in 2023!

new year, new goals

The Purdue Center of Hope is excited to embark on a new year in Memphis. The center's Social Services Department is poised to increase engagement activities with the women and children living in the Purdue Center's residential shelters.

The Purdue Center's Youth Development Program is slated to host a number of classes aimed at teaching children life skills. Career counseling sessions, basic automatic care classes, and financial literacy courses will be held at the Purdue Center for adolescent children.

Youth Development will begin programs with the intention to show youth positive reflections of who they are and examples of who they can become. "Chat and Chew" is a new monthly speaker series geared towards our youth clients with a focus on various career fields. Youth Development has also started a book club to help engage in thought-provoking and healing conversations.

The Purdue Center's Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is also set to begin opening up services to clients who do not currently reside at the Purdue Center. IOP will be extending wellness and mental health counseling to individuals needing support to maintain recovery from addiction.

The Purdue Center will continue to be a place where single women and women accompanied by children can find safety and support in their fight against poverty, homelessness, or addiction.

feature: love in action

For many, the start of a new year means setting new goals and embarking on new experiences. This is certainly true for Patrick Lewandowski. On an early Thursday morning in January, he finds himself settling into a new role in a new city. As a Core Mission Associate, he has been tasked with managing the food pantry and assisting with worship services at the Salvation Army in Jackson, Tennessee.

Just a few days ago, you could catch Lewandowski assessing residential living spaces, scheduling appointments, and offering guidance to clients living at the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Memphis, Tennessee. As the resident manager, he was accustomed to juggling various tasks, all while ensuring clients stayed focused on their journey toward recovery from addictions. But his goal was to do more than run a tight ship. He galvanized the troops to spread hope far beyond the walls of the ARC.

Lewandowski was also a soldier of The Salvation Army’s Kroc Church in Memphis. In 2022 he began to join the church on outings in the Memphis Area Command’s mobile canteen unit. The group - which consisted of volunteers, employees, and officers - would ride around Memphis in the canteen filled with sack lunches and water bottles. They made stops at no-barrier homeless shelters and low-income apartments, hoping to provide nourishment for both body and spirit.

During these outings, Lewandowski began building rapport with the individuals they served from the canteen. He told them about the ARC’s work-therapy program for people recovering from addictions. Through word-of-mouth, Lewandowski was able to get nearly a dozen people to become residents at the ARC within just a couple of months.

Robert Hines was one of the individuals who learned about the ARC as a result of the mobile canteen ministry. Hines said he was homeless and a recovering addict when he met Lewandoski. “He started talking to me along with another guy and said, ‘Well would you be interested in coming with me today and join in our program’.” Hines recalls needing a little convincing. “I was skeptical,” he said, “I knew about the Salvation Army with Christmas. I didn’t know they had a program for anything.”

Hines joined Lewandowski on the rest of his mobile canteen route that day, helping to hand out lunches to others in need. By the end, he decided to go with Lewandoski back to the ARC. “It was the first time anybody really reached out to me, and I kinda felt connected.”

Lewandoski says that not every connection has resulted in a success story. “Not all of them have stayed,” he said, “Unfortunately that’s the way it goes.” Lewandowski says some have only decided to stay for a few weeks instead of completing the full 180-day program. But he hopes the staff at the ARC have planted a seed in the hearts of people who chose to leave. “By showing them that love in the first place, that we’re here, it leaves those doors open."

Lewandowski personally vouches for the program at the ARC, not just as a current employee, but as a former client. “I came through the program myself in Jacksonville, Florida in 2020.” Soon after completing the program, Lewandowski was offered a job at the ARC in Memphis. He worked as the resident manager for nearly two years.

For clients who have decided to stay, it has been a transformative experience. He has even kept in touch with one of the individuals who he met through the mobile canteen ministry. “Since I no longer work there, I’m able to be his sponsor,” Lewandoski said. The man he is sponsoring has almost completed the 180-day program at the ARC.

Lewandoski sees his new role at the Jackson Corps as a “learning experience”. He hopes that over the next six months, he will gain the ministry and leadership skills that will prepare him to attend The Salvation Army's Evangeline Booth College School for Officer Training in Atlanta, Georgia this year.


Volunteer Appreciation Week - April 13-22

During this week, we highlight individuals and groups who help us to Do the Most Good in Memphis and the Mid-South.

National Salvation Army Week - May 15-19

Be on the lookout for events that highlight the services The Salvation Army provides year-round.

Kettle365 Telethon - May (TBD)

The Salvation Army's annual telethon fundraiser is held each spring to highlight our year-round services and raise funds for summer programming.


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