Faces Of The Army- Giving Back turned into Receiving More

May 29, 2023

Growing up, I only knew The Salvation Army during the holiday season. I would see people ringing bells and standing next to red kettles in front of stores. I wondered where the money was going and, as a kid, how they got the money out of that kettle. As I got older, I became aware of The Salvation Army thrift stores, so I assumed the kettle workers I saw at Christmas time were raising money for their thrift stores.

I spoke with a man working in the Center of Hope Shelter about five years ago. He explained that they needed a Shelter Manager. This was when I learned more about The Salvation Army in much more detail and that the money donated in the red kettles at Christmas went to funding all the programs The Salvation Army offers in my immediate community.

I learned about the Veteran’s program that The Salvation Army offers. As a veteran myself, I was unaware that veterans could become homeless and lose their houses and necessities for various reasons. I quickly realized I have been very blessed and fortunate enough to live a life that veterans, just like me, struggle to live without. That’s when I decided to take the Shelter Manager position to help people in need like me.

I enjoyed my time as the Shelter manager. Meeting individuals and families from all walks of life and listening to their stories or plans for getting back on their feet touched my spirit. 

My favorite memory of my time as the shelter manager was seeing a mother of eight children stay in our shelter for some time. Those children were so vibrant and full of life no matter what the day had for them. Every day, those eight children gathered and held hands to pray. They did this every day. That’s when I realized I wanted to do more for the residents in the shelter and give more to my community.

Five years later, I was promoted to the Social Services Program Coordinator position, and my soul has never been happier and more fulfilled. In my job description, I oversee the Center of Hope Shelter, the thrift store, and clients needing help with bills and food assistance.

But in all honesty, I love this place so much that I’ve taken on more responsibility. I help prepare food boxes for clients, assist in handing out gifts to children in need at Christmas time, plan and provide activities for kids living in the projects, coordinate transportation for people getting to our shelter, assist in planning events such as the fall festival, prepare meal plans for shelter residents and community clients plus so much more.

The clients I meet walk through our doors from a place of brokenness. When they sit down at my desk, I start with a prayer every meeting. I like to make people feel comfortable and heard by allowing them to explain how they got to us. Then I do everything I can through the grace of God to help them with something before they leave my office.

But when anyone asks what I do at The Salvation Army, I always respond, “Doing The Most Good.” I wake up daily in prayer, asking the Lord to help me make one person smile that day, at least one person. That’s how I live and practice my role as Program Coordinator.

So, I serve at The Salvation Army to give back to my community. I give at my local Red Kettle, donate clothes to our thrift store, shop at our thrift store, and volunteer for any project or task needed. I know my contribution is going to someone who needs it.

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