Sue McCann Finds Volunteer Work in Women's Auxiliary 'Grounding'

Jan 31, 2023

Sue McCann is rooted in her volunteer work with The Salvation Army of Greenville Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA). As a founding member of the group, she, along with the other members, work to promote and support the mission of The Salvation Army across the community.

One of Sue’s most fruitful roles within SAWA, however, has been serving on the gardening committee. Right outside the doors of The Salvation Army’s chapel sits a quiet, serene flower garden, meticulously maintained by dedicated SAWA volunteers year-round.

"We started the garden about nine years ago during the winter season. It looked like a dirt parking lot at the time, as it hadn’t been kept up over the years,” said Sue. “We got to work … and then spring arrived. Things started to blossom and bloom. We’ve kept it up ever since. The garden has now turned into a magical spot where shelter residents and visitors can spend a quiet moment reflecting, enjoying the beauty in God’s nature.” 

Sue admits she has no professional gardening background. Prior to moving to Greenville 12 years ago with her husband, she served as a hospice volunteer for more than 20 years in a home health organization in New York. But gardening is an avid hobby for her. Sue says,

“Gardening is ‘grounding’ for me. It’s a great place to be quiet and let your brain work out the things you didn’t know needed working out. By growing a garden at The Salvation Army, it offers people in crisis an oasis where they can be quiet and still.”

Sue feels called to be part of The Salvation Army because of the dedicated staff, and the work they do to help those in need in the community. “TSA’s staff is the most cohesive, goal-oriented group of men and women I’ve ever met. You can’t help but be impressed with their dedication, and then want to be part of the process.”

She adds, “The individuals The Salvation Army serves are also some of the bravest people I’ve ever met. It’s two fold - you’re working with people who are raising themselves out of some incredibly difficult situations, and that takes incredible strength and purpose. I like to think I’m a small part of that.” 

Sue says part of being on SAWA’s garden committee is just being present on The Salvation Army’s campus. “Whether we’re seen by the shelter residents there, or not, it’s important for us to just be present consistently. We try to volunteer there once a week, even if it’s just stopping quickly to look at the garden and pick a weed. But the residents know our cars and my red truck - they know when we show up, we’re there giving back and representing SAWA.” 

SAWA is a membership organization within The Salvation Army that strengthens the nonprofit’s work taking place in the community. Sue says, “SAWA is a group of like-minded women who are not out for the spotlight, but they’re women who see the value in people who might believe they have no value. We work hard, and we make mistakes. But we’re a goal oriented group of women who just want to help lift folks up.” 

While SAWA membership is invitation only, any woman who’s interested in joining is welcome. The annual dues go directly to The Salvation Army of Greenville social services ministry to allocate to help those who need it most, including supporting the emergency shelter for men, women and children; the food pantry; disaster relief; and rent/utility assistance. In addition to maintaining the campus garden, SAWA hosts monthly events for the shelter residents, such as movie and game nights, and also provides haircut sessions, campus-wide meals and candlelight services, to name a few. 

In terms of volunteer commitment, Sue says members can structure their role to do as much or as little as they want. “We have ladies in their 90s who still contribute to SAWA in some capacity. We have volunteer opportunities for all commitment and ability levels.” 

In addition to volunteering with SAWA, Sue is an avid artist and quilter. She also participates in an African drum group, which she says she enjoys so much because the drum beats help share stories that are hundreds of years old. 

We are grateful to Sue and to all of the dedicated SAWA members who so selflessly give of their time and talents to lift up our most vulnerable neighbors. For more information on how to get involved with SAWA, visit

The Salvation Army of Greenville Women's Auxiliary Founding Member and Volunteer Sue McCann helps maintain the garden on the shelter campus. She also participates in the group's many mission programs to support The Salvation Army year round. 

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