(Miami, FL) (August 4, 2022) –  With its “Lunch and Love” program, the Salvation Army Miami is providing love and meals to those in need on Miami’s streets.

In an effort to replicate the same impact made at Miami Area Command to the surrounding community, Lunch and Love was developed by David Jenett, Case Worker and Emergency Disaster Services Coordinator. With the use of the FedEx Cares EDS Canteen (pictured above), David and his team were able to serve 150 meals and 50 snack packs to the homeless that are located within the Government Center and North Miami area of Miami-Dade.

David had one thought in mind: it’s necessary and it’s impactful, “Not everyone is able to migrate to our corps so why not bring the assistance to them? We have a Canteen that can go a long way and a team that can stretch the effort even more.” Despite the rainy conditions, the team dedicated nearly four hours of service, with the assistance of Terrance McCray and Susi Goihman.

They even had a helper! When the team needed to draw the meal recipients to one location, an individual on a bike (who is also homeless) rode around the area and alerted everyone else to the free lunch being served. A day filled with love, service, and gratitude would not have been possible without David, Terrance, and Susi’s dedication, their efforts were a big success.

The program will take place once a month throughout Miami-Dade, with the goal of becoming a regular service. The team hopes to make Lunch and Love a bi-weekly effort.

(JENSEN BEACH, FL) – The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s Christmas in July toy drive and fundraiser was a resounding success, with more than 75 guests bearing gifts of toys and clothing. The happy hour event, held in July at the Dolphin Bar & Shrimp House in Jensen Beach, netted more than $2500 and brought in over 250 new toys and clothes for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Christmas Assistance Program.

“We would like to thank everyone who participated,” said Judy Scott, co-chair of the event. “It was a huge success and everyone enjoyed wonderful conversation and food.”  Co-chair Kathy Span agreed, adding, “Thanks to the continued support from the community, children in need on the Treasure Coast will have a very merry Christmas this year.”

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides new toys and clothes to 1300-1600 children in low-income households in Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties every year. In November, the Army posts Angel Trees at the Treasure Coast Mall and at various businesses, encouraging the community to “adopt” the children and purchase the toys for them. The toy donations from the event will help fill the wishes for the few who are not adopted.

“This was a great event with a great outcome,” said Captain Deanne Jones, corps officer at The Salvation Army. “We are already ahead in providing kids a great Christmas. What a relief to so many parents and guardians!”

Registration for the Angel Tree program opens in October. For more information about the Angel Tree program and other services provided by the Salvation Army, visit salvationarmymartin.org or call 772-288-1471.  For more information about the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, contact membership chair Judy Scott at judyscott0703@gmail.com.

The life-threatening temperatures currently impacting approximately 35 million Americans signal the continuation of what experts predicted to be a “hotter-than-usual” summer.

Extreme heat is deadlier than hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods annually, with almost 1,600 people dying last year in the United States. In some areas, unsheltered individuals account for nearly half of these deaths. Communities in nearly every part of the country are under heat advisories following unseasonably intense spikes in temperature. Unsheltered individuals in these areas face dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke, and infections from sweat-soaked clothing that go unwashed.

 Because of the generous support of our donors, The Salvation Army is able to offer heat relief at many of our 7,200 locations across the country, which can be lifesaving in many situations.

 Examples of some of The Salvation Army’s services across the country include:

  • Omaha, NE: As temperatures are expected to skyrocket, The Salvation Army of Omaha has activated cooling centers and a summer fan program to help people stay cool and avoid heat-related illness.
  • Tucson, AZ: Salvation Army volunteers passed out ice cold water, umbrellas, sunscreen and other essentials to survive the summer heat.
  • Denver, CO: The Crossroads and Lambuth Family Center are providing a number of resources in the Denver metro area including shelters to keep people hydrated and covered.
  • Wichita, KS: In addition to opening a cooling center for unsheltered individuals, The Salvation Army has also donated fans to Sedgwick County.
  • Lubbock, TX: For those who don’t have access to adequate air conditioning, The Salvation Army is opening a cooling station in Lubbock. It will serve water, popsicles, and ice cream and provide water-based games for the children in the shelter.
  • New York City, NY: Eight cooling centers are being launched in several neighborhoods including Tremont in the Bronx and Times Square to provide relief from the heat.

Across the country, The Salvation Army is opening cooling centers for those who need water and shade, as well as providing utility support for the elderly or other vulnerable individuals in affected communities.

The best way to support these efforts is by making a financial contribution, which allows The Salvation Army to meet immediate and long-term needs. To learn more about The Salvation Army’s response, visit salvationarmyusa.org.

To learn more about staying safe in extreme heat, click here.

Those who are able to donate can do so through a variety of convenient and safe methods:

  • Visit HelpSalvationArmy.org
  • Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Make a contribution through Amazon Alexa by saying, “Alexa, make a donation to The Salvation Army”

FORT MYERS, FL – (July 21, 2022) The Salvation Army of Ft. Myers Area Command has accepted funding from the Florida Department of Corrections and State legislative partners for the Dual Diagnosis Initiative Program.

Representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka, on behalf of Senator Kathleen Passidomo, presented a check for $350K on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope, 2400 Edison Ave, Ft. Myers, FL.

“The Dual Diagnosis Initiative Program is utilized through our federal and state corrections programs, working with our incarcerated clients, we are able to better help those who are presenting or been diagnosed with both mental and addictive behaviors.”  Major Carlyle, Area Commander.  “We assist these folks in transitioning back to society and this program is essential to that process.”

For over 5 years, The Salvation Army has collaborated with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and State Department of Corrections to provide effective programming, guidance, and substance abuse rehabilitation for some individuals under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system.

The Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry, & Glades Counties is providing the support residents need to reenter society, reunite with their families, and resume normal lives.

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About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyleecounty.org.  The Salvation Army is proud to be a United Way partner agency.

Miami, FL – (July 20, 2022) The Salvation Army Miami Area Command has recently partnered up with the Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation of Coral Gables to provide increased healthcare to clients within the community. Their recent donation has assisted in helping us provide care for those served at the Health Resource Center.

Three out of four of the uninsured population are in poverty. The lack of insurance and deprivation results in individuals foregoing preventative care. Those in need are more likely to wait until their health conditions are severe before taking action and pursuing medical attention.

In 2019, the Salvation Army announced the grand opening of the Health Resource Center. With the assistance of community partners including the Health Foundation of South Florida and Camillus Health Concern, the Health Resource Center was made possible and continues to be a vital medical access point for the residents within the shelter. Residents and clients are able to receive more healthcare assistance without the hassle of transportation and delayed 911 dispatch.

The shelter continues to provide assistance to residents including Leroy B, who arrived in spring 2022 at Salvation Army’s emergency shelter in crisis. Leroy, 57, left behind an unstable “nightmare” housing environment and neglected treatment for his diabetes, depression and chronic kidney disease. The physician at the Health Resource Center promptly arranged for dialysis at University of Miami and prescribed medicine to immediately stabilize his condition. With his physician and case manager’s help, he now awaits to move into permanent supportive housing, receives outpatient dialysis thrice weekly and feels much healthier and more hopeful about the future.

“It’s really wonderful. I feel like they care. I feel like I’m being cared about and they get on me when I’m slipping” on taking daily medications,” he said. “If not for this place I would not be here (alive) today.”

Thank you to Dunspaugh-Dalton for helping us better impact our residents and the community.

Florida men stand strong at The Salvation Army’s Camp Keystone  By: Maria Matheus

“Men’s Camp.”

When Major Henry Morris, The Salvation Army’s divisional secretary for program in Florida, uttered those two words and invited me to participate in it, I dutifully accepted the assignment of reporting on it. I pulled myself up at the bootstraps, quite literally in combat boots, placed my hair in a baseball hat, and quietly slipped into the background of the 2022 Men’s ‘Stand Strong’ Camp, taking care to give the guests and attendees the space they needed to convene in fellowship. I was determined to understand how Men’s Camp differs from a women’s retreat, at the least to get a distinct point of view.

With previous reporting on the Florida Women’s Retreat, I noted that though the focus of both the men’s and women’s retreats challenge one in their Christian walk, the men’s retreat is set apart by the competitive nature of sports built into the event program, and there were a ton of sports and game activities the men could choose from. It was a matter of deciding which one appealed to them at a given time.

In between sports, worship and sitting down to eat in fellowship, there were many special guests present throughout the weekend at Camp Keystone, like Lt. Colonel James Seiler, territorial business administrator, Atlanta, GA, Captain Damon Graham, ARC Officer, Hampton Roads, VA, recording music artist Damien Horne, and Lt. Colonel Ken Luyk, divisional commander, each one providing special testimony that touched the hearts of the men, mine included.

The first speaker of the weekend was Emaniel (E.B.) Brifil, representing the Tampa Corps, with a moving spoken word testimonial, poetic in its delivery, which stirred at the core of one’s heart, if not the minds of the men in attendance.

“What are we doing daily to grow in Him?” he asked. “This weekend is more than about the fun and the games… Men who will be more focused on the Glory of God than friendly banter and competition.”

He further illustrated divisive times that should not separate one from another by putting more effort into building the Kingdom of God, then into an ideology, a right wing or a left wing. “Men who will have an allegiance to God and not to a particular nation.”

Brifil encouraged the men to know about their fellow brother in Christ, to stand strong with them, “in times of joy and congratulations, but also in times of trials and tribulations.”

Lt. Colonel Luyk followed up by referencing the strength of retired 1992 Olympian British sprinter, Derek Anthony Redmond, who despite not finishing a four hundred meters semi-final because of a torn hamstring, became the face of hope, humanity, and perseverance. “When things do not end up the way you planned, when you messed up, when you went the wrong way, when you made some bad decisions, does anyone know the impact it may make?” Colonel said. He then invited everyone to bring their brokenness into the sanctuary, to find healing and redemption.

On Saturday, the next speaker up at bat was the lively, spirited testimonial given by new soldier, Pablo Lanes, Naples Corps, who drew a bit of laughter from the camp attendees. He talked about making some bad choices in life, he also mentioned how at three points in his youth he could have gotten into more serious trouble, but God had a plan in his life, and he survived unscathed.

“The Lord had a plan,” Pablo said. “The truth is, the way I lived my life, I should not be here talking to you today. On three separate occasions, I have been shot at, by some miracle I have never been hit. I always wondered why, but I can tell you with certainty the Lord had a plan.” He continued, “Through the Corps I was introduced to a life of selflessness, servitude and filled with the Holy Spirit, that, my brothers, was the Lord’s plan.”

“I don’t drive an old school Chevy with the 20’s, I drive the Corps bus with twenty screaming kids.” Pablo humorously continued in referencing the behavior of his youth, “There is only one thing that would make me go back to the ‘old’ me, that is if anyone ever hurt my kids,”

Pausing a moment, he said, “Sorry, that was just meant for my daughter’s boyfriend, who’s here today,” drawing more welcome laughter in the room.

“I know now what it means to be a real man, it is to stand strong against the lies of the enemies and to find peace and strength in Jesus Christ, which is where you will find fulfillment and the life that He planned for you.” Pablo finished his witty, engaging testimony by succinctly adding “God has a plan for my life, and He has a plan for yours as well.”

With that said, Captain Damon Graham, approached the pulpit to give his seat rousing message, titled “I want to be strong, but you don’t understand” chest thumping exhortation, speaking to the men in the WAC about character and excellence, especially when it comes to the unsupervised areas of their lives.

“Character is who we really are in the unsupervised areas of our life,” he said. “It is not what one does in the dark, but what one does in the light.”

Captain then asked what being ‘strong’ looks like by reflecting on the first miracle of Jesus, when Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, a story about what takes place in each individual soul as it begins to hear one’s spiritual calling. The invitation of union with our higher self, union with God is key in the miracle of turning water into wine.

“If you do what the Word says it is important because you do not know at what point in the process your water is going to turn into wine.” He continued, “You do not know at what point in the process you will be healed.” When God causes miracles, He does not want us to just believe in miracles, he wants us to believe in Him. The point is not the message but the messenger.

Standing at the pulpit, Lt. Colonel Seiler gave heartrending testimony of his lovely wife, Karol, whom despite having health challenges is healing and improving because of the power of prayer. Focusing on Matthew 7, he turned to the men and said, “I don’t know what the need is, but knock on the door, gentleman.”

Later in the evening at Vespers Cross, Lt. Colonel Seiler reminded everyone again to lean on each other in prayer, reflecting on John 15, 1-8, saying no branch cannot bear fruit by itself, and challenging the men to spend time in God’s word, that way we show God’s glory to others.

The rewarding experience of a Christian open-air retreat, like Men’s Camp, is that it can help to transform lives, providing an opportunity for the men to decompress, sharing fellowship, vigorously competing in sports as evidenced by the winning teams that came out on top, like Winter Haven winning at basketball and football, or Miami Sunset winning in softball.

The bonus of men’s camp also highlights fostering friendship too. That point could not be more succinct than in a video message conveyed by Major Mark Satterlee.

He asks, “Can you name six men who will one day carry your casket into church?”  He then reminds us, like one’s mother may have said, ‘to have a friend, you must be a friend,’ referencing scripture in Ecclesiastics 4:9-10, “If either of them falls, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Men should stand strong, but not stand alone, especially in Christ. Men, like women, should lift each other up. We need to enable our sisters to help their brothers stand strong, we need to support one another in their walk in Christ, by being an example and allowing them the space to do so.

In closing out the weekend retreat, Major Morris said, “My prayer is that we do not leave here the same way we came, when we leave here, the Holy Spirit is in us, and working through us, and changing us in a mighty way, that God is using us, and will use us in a mighty way.”

Florida women gather for ‘Celebrate’ retreat   By: Maria Matheus

Colonel Susan Bukiewicz, U.S. Southern Territorial Secretary for Ministry to Women, was a special guest at the Florida Division’s Celebrate Women’s Gathering in Orlando. More than 400 attendees traveled across the state to spend time considering the theme ‘Celebrate’.

The Salvation Army’s Florida Division held the 2022 Women’s Gathering at the Calvary Orlando Church on the weekend of March 18-19, two years after the Pandemic stopped them from coming together in person. The theme of the conference was one of celebration, aptly titled ‘Celebrate,’ and focused on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Hundreds of attendees from near and far engaged in worship services and breakout sessions, while also listening to a variety of speakers in carefully prepared spaces that enabled the women to celebrate, pray, and give thanks to God through their experience.

Major Benita Morris, divisional secretary of women’s ministries, in charge of organizing her first women’s gathering for the Florida Division, not only curated the colorful, festive ‘Celebrate’ theme but also vetted the keynote speakers for the retreat, Colonel Susan Bukiewicz, territorial secretary for ministry to women & officer development secretary, Jeniffer Dake, motivational speaker and guest teacher, and Apostle Laequinla Hunterthe cousin of Major Henry Morris, all whom brought equal measure of excitement and enthusiasm to the attendees over the weekend.

“I do not know about you, but the last two years felt like life was being controlled by fear, and for a believer that is just not right,” said Colonel Susan Bukiewicz, encouraging everyone to party and celebrate in a video message taped earlier before the gathering. “The enemy of our soul uses fear and discouragement to cause us to walk in defeat. But in Christ there is nothing to fear, and there is everything to celebrate.”

“Just the fact that we had been locked down for two and a half years, for me, seeing the faces of the ladies in person, being able to come together once again, it did my heart good,” said Major Benita Morris. “One could see they were hungry; they were hungry for fellowship, they were hungry for the ‘word,’ and they were thankful to be present. All the planning we did was to see the women at the gathering go away fulfilled, happy, full of the Word, pleased in fellowship, pleased with the reception.”

One attendee, Geurdie Joseph, 22, Orlando, said, “I really, really love seeing people of all ages, women of all ages, worshipping God. I look at the older women and imagine being, when I come to that age, setting the same example to a younger generation. Regardless of one’s pain, or one’s struggle in ‘their walk,’ one may still give as much as they can to God. You are never too old; you are never too young to worship and give yourself to God.”

Apostle Hunter encouraged women to look out for each other, referencing Mary and Elizabeth in the First Chapter of Luke in the Bible, whom were each pregnant, one with the Messiah, the other after being infertile for many years, by simply being present for one another as sisters. Like Mary, who went to stay with her cousin Elizabeth for three months, Apostle Hunter appealed to God to send people to bless and inspire the women present, and to come alongside them as they celebrate and support one another. 

The opportunity to come as one at the Celebrate Gathering was not missed as Apostle Hunter’s sermon brought more than forty attendees from varied backgrounds to stand at alter call together, perhaps a testament to the necessity of humanity coming together in Christ, transitioning back to normalcy after a prolonged absence from one another and Him in His light.

Similarly, Dake also encouraged and inspired the attendees by asking them: “How do you celebrate the Lord?” before sharing the anecdote of her friend ‘Katie’, who by carrying the “weight of a dead dog” in a travel suitcase could not think about celebrating Christ when she was too preoccupied with the ‘burden’ she was carrying.

“If you give it to Jesus, you can walk freely in any direction, trust in God to take your burdens away, leave it here with you, don’t take it home.”

Bearing this in mind, Dake encouraged others to celebrate Jesus by giving up their concerns to Him.

Opportunities to celebrate the Lord were interweaved throughout the women’s gathering weekend as attendees were treated to a carefully prepared program guide, featuring both active and educational breakout sessions ranging from Dance and Art to Self-Care and Improvement to choose from. One could also support the Mexico Children’s Home by shopping unique vendor items, in addition to selecting a scrumptious lunch provided by local food trucks onsite. The sunny, warm Florida weather was a perfect backdrop to a long-awaited reunion in sisterhood, a gathering centered in celebration, rejoicing in His light, guided by the shining lamps of the speakers, in His steadfast love for all.

THE SALVATION ARMY ORLANDO AREA COMMAND ANNOUNCES PATHWAY TO HOUSING

An innovative housing project to move from homelessness to housing in Osceola County

 

ORLANDO, FL – (May 9, 2022) – The Salvation Army of Osceola County is excited to announce an innovative housing project moving families from homelessness to housing. Spearheaded by Osceola County Commissioner Peggy Choudhry in partnership with Housing 4 All, LaRosa Realty & LaRosa Foundation, Career Source, Osceola Council on Aging, and other financial literacy partners, this is a game-changer in changing the lives of many for years to come.

 

As affordable housing in Central Florida has moved the area to the top of the list of least affordable places to live in the U.S., and The Salvation Army seeing more and more clients in need of assistance, Commissioner Choudhry knew something had to be done. Bringing together like-minded individuals and organizations to not only find affordable housing, but to help families maintain financial stability and secure their futures. This program, called “Pathway to Housing”, is an extension of The Salvation Army’s existing “Pathway to Hope” nationwide initiate providing high-quality case management and outreach services to families with children desiring to take action to break the cycle of crisis and intergenerational poverty. In today’s climate, finding financial footing and being able to afford a house is an unrealistic goal for many at or below the poverty level. Pathway to Housing will get families off the cusp of ruin and give them the financial guidance to see them through managing bills, living within their means, saving money, all while living in housing provided by one of the partner property owners. The outcome, a family moving into homeownership within a year to 18 months and possessing the knowledge and skills to maintain and grow a healthy financial future. Rent will be paid for one year allowing participants to save what they would have put towards rent as a down payment on their own home. As they work with a case manager and save their money, the kids are also learning these skills to better their chances of financial stability and sustainability – breaking that cycle. The Salvation Army and Housing 4 All will then match what the families save to double their down payment amount on a home of their own.

 

With funding from County, City, public and private entities, the number of families that can be mentored, is endless. Says Captain Ken Chapman, Salvation Army Orlando Area Commander, “When non-profit, for profit, government, and private donors collaborate, the community is a healthier place.” With an initial investment by Osceola County of

$1,000,000 and Walmart with $50,000, the partnerships and outcomes are endless.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit www.salvationarmyorlando.org or www.salvationarmyosceola.org . Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @salarmyorlando or @salarmyosceola and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/salvationarmyorlando or www.facebook.com/salvationarmyosceola.

 

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FPL Project Share’s updated guidelines allow more customers in Northwest Florida to get bill assistance through The Salvation Army

(TAMPA, FL) In the wake of Hurricane Ida, The Salvation Army in Florida has mobilized equipment and personnel to assist with relief efforts along the Gulf Coast. These Emergency Disaster teams along with mobile feeding units from Clearwater, Ocala, Palm Beach County, Pensacola, Orlando, and Lakeland will be providing life sustaining food and nourishment to both first responders and storm survivors.  With wide-spread power outages across the region getting food, water and other basic life sustaining items to those in the affect area is crucial.

“During the first few days it is critical to get this type of assistance to the affected area as quickly as possible since many may not have the ability to prepare meals because of the damage,” says Steven Hartsook, Divisional Emergency Services Director.

These mobile feeding units can serve and provide thousands of meals a day either in a centralized location or by moving throughout the affected area.

Accompanying these teams from Florida is a thirteen-member Emergency Incident Command Team that will provide direction of their relief efforts in collaboration with The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi division who which is coordinating The Salvation Army’s response.

In addition, support equipment including a twelve bed housing unit and three additional travel trailers are also being sent to south Louisiana to help support the relief effort.