Teen’s angelic painting goes in ‘Thank You’ box to Memphis donors

Oct 8, 2020 | by Brad Rowland

Teen's angelic painting goes in ‘Thank You' box to Memphis donors

By: David Ibata

Major donors to The Salvation Army in Memphis, Tennessee, got a one-of-a-kind gift this year: a heartfelt piece of artwork by a 14-year-old resident of the Purdue Center of Hope family shelter.

The painting, of a woman with angel wings and a halo surrounded by dark colors, has a symbolic meaning for the artist, Zyria.

“This piece represents how God loves and protects us, even around darkness,” she said.

Each year, the Memphis Area Command holds an event to thank its major donors, but when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented an in-person gathering this year, staff organized a unique virtual event to show their gratitude and appreciation –delivering more than 450 gift boxes to donors. Each box included a copy of Zyria's artwork.

Recipients were also directed to a special video, which featured a "thank you" from Memphis Area Commander Major Marion Platt, and an interview with Zyria and her mother, Antoinette.

In the interview, the pair shared the story about how the Purdue Center of Hope's New Directions program –which helps families break the cycle of poverty through counseling, job placement, educational programs and other services –changed their lives.

The gift boxes also included a brochure highlighting Purdue Center of Hope program statistics and information; a historical timeline of photos of The Salvation Army's 120 years in Memphis and the Mid-South; and Salvation Army-branded face masks and hand sanitizers.

Staff and young volunteers of The Salvation Army Memphis' GPS (“Give, Pray and Serve”) Squad assembled and delivered the boxes.

In a Facebook post accompanying the gift boxes, the Memphis Area Command wrote, “To those receiving this gift, we hope you know what you mean to us and the families who depend on us —because with YOUR love and support, we are giving our vulnerable neighbors a second chance at life."

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