Pathway of Hope

The Pathway of Hope initiative, launched by The Salvation Army in 2011, provides targeted services to families to take action in breaking the generational cycle of crisis and enabling a path out of poverty.

“Pathway [of Hope] has been a wonderful way for our social work to move beyond a band-aid approach to poverty for our clients and into a long-term relationship with a case manager, who is able to meet clients where they are to provide ongoing support and services,” said Lieutenant LeAnna Marion, Salvation Army Administrator.

“We are able through this program to connect our clients with other community resources that fill a gap in our own for a more holistic program,” Lieutenant Marion said. “We have seen success in some of our clients reaching their own set goals with Pathway of Hope.”

One recent success of the initiative is Alexis Pickens, a young mother of three children who came to The Salvation Army needing help and without a traditional support system.

“Alexis doesn’t necessarily have a strong family support system,” said Tina Nehls, Salvation Army Case Management Specialist. “She doesn’t necessarily know what it’s like to have someone who would understand what she’s going through and have the ability to enable her to help herself. With Pathway of Hope, we’ve been able to do that with her.”

In a short time, Alexis garnered employment, housing, and the stability to provide for her family. While her progress was incremental, her humble, sweet persona made an impact on those around her, and Alexis was able to overcome significant adversity, both financial and physical.

“These families, including Alexis, are just amazing,” the case management specialist said. “I’m not doing anything. It’s the families that are doing the work. They just need a little guidance or maybe need to be pointed in the right direction, but they’re doing the work.”

Other individuals and families are working through the Pathway of Hope, including some escaping abusive and damaging circumstances that go well beyond financial need. The Salvation Army is implementing motivational interviewing techniques in the Pathway of Hope, helping to understand where individuals seeking assistance are coming from and using that information to best serve others.

“I’ve always liked being a social worker, and I always felt like I was helping people,” Nehls said. “But this program is so different. The case management aspect is phenomenal. Instead of mainly troubleshooting, we’re building relationships. We’re getting to know these families and what they really need.

“We’re diving deeper and really helping to mold these individuals and families for the better,” she said. “I wish I could do it every day.”

Each day, families are experiencing total transformations, from virtual helplessness in some cases to full, maintainable stability. That includes not only the securing of stable employment and housing, but also the vital presence of genuine hope for the future.

“It’s amazing how God is working here,” Nehls said. “I’m sure he’s working in other places as well, but every one of my Pathway of Hope families has met every goal and set new ones. Little by little, everybody is enjoying success. Glory to God.”

By: Brad Rowland

The Salvation Army continues to be flexible and willing to step into the gap in various ways as the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Collier County, Florida, that recently included assistance at a COVID-19 testing site in Immokalee.

In coordination with Collier County Emergency Services and the Health Department, three days of COVID-19 testing were administered by the National Guard. This was set up within the Collier County Public Library, with The Salvation Army providing assistance in the form of meal service.

The Salvation Army, in tandem with Three60, a local market, stepped in to feed first responders and workers. All told, more than 1,000 COVID-19 tests were administered to Immokalee residents over the three days.

In support, The Salvation Army served 420 meals, in addition to Gatorade and other snacks, to those administering the testing.

Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19 in Florida.

Julie Gray with The Salvation Army puts groceries in a van during a food distribution. [DEVON RAVINE/DAILY NEWS]

A young elementary school teacher stopped by her local Salvation Army food pantry and asked whether it was possible to have bags of food for some of her students’ families. She shared with us that she remembers, that as a little girl, it was always difficult for her family to put food on the table.

She said, “I can’t imagine what these families are going through. I have been there and I want to help, if I can, to alleviate a little bit by bringing food for those families.”

The Salvation Army was able to provide food baskets for the families, and the teacher picked them up and delivered them herself.

Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19 in Florida.

The Salvation Army in Ocala, Florida, held a drive-through distribution designed to fill much more than physical needs.

To help ease the burden of grocery expenses, each car received a box of food with non-perishable items, fresh produce, baked goods, and frozen meat, but it didn’t stop there. They also received a hot takeaway meal for everyone in their household.

The Salvation Army recognizes that needs during a crisis go far beyond financial, so each person was also offered an activity bag for children in their family, a Bible (English or Spanish), and personal prayer from an emotional and spiritual care team member.

In total, more than 350 meals were provided to 175 cars that came through the distribution line.

Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19 in Florida.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

Lt. Camilo Rojas, director of The Salvation Army of Okaloosa and Walton counties, carries bags of groceries to a vehicle during a food distribution at The Salvation Army’s offices in Fort Walton Beach. [DEVON RAVINE/DAILY NEWS]

The Salvation Army hosted an emergency food distribution in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for residents of Okaloosa and Walton counties to help meet the growing need in their community.

Staff and volunteers prepared 200 bags of groceries, each with enough food to feed a family of five for a week. Lt. Camilo Rojas, Administrator for The Salvation Army in Fort Walton Beach, says they decided to host a drive-through food distribution after seeing a large increase in demand at their regular food pantry.

“There’s a lot of people we’ve never seen before in our food pantry,” said Rojas. “So we know there’s a great need.”

More than 2,100 pounds of food delivered to senior living community in need

The Salvation Army delivered more than 2,100 pounds of food to residents of a senior living complex in Fort Myers, Florida. Many of the men and women have disabilities and have been unable to access food and other necessities on their own for weeks.

Physical ailments and transportation changes have presented a challenge for the apartment residents looking to gather needed supplies. Bus routes have been altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the community leaning on each other for help.

“I’ve been running around and try to help those that can’t come out to get [food],” Geneva Ward, apartment resident explains to Major Carlyle Gargis, Area Commander for The Salvation Army serving the Ft. Myers area. “There is a definite need here,” Geneva continues, “We’re glad to have y’all come out.”

The Salvation Army’s Canteen (mobile feeding unit) loaded up and delivered emergency food bags, each filled with enough food items to last at least one week. Oatmeal, canned beans, rice, soup, and other non-perishables were hand-delivered to each member of the complex that needed assistance.

“Every little bit helps and we’re just so grateful for each of our donors because we are making a difference in the lives of the people right here in this neighborhood,” explains Major Gargis.

The Salvation Army has also increased its pantry service from one to three days each week to help meet the growing needs of the community. Two of those days are dedicated to taking resources directly into vulnerable communities.

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Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19 in Florida.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

During this difficult period, it may be more necessary than ever to practice a little self-care.

Find a quiet place to pause and reflect:

  • What rhythms of rest and work have you found to sustain yourself?
  • What practices, rhythms, or patterns have you adopted to root yourself into the foundation of Christ’s love?
  • Are their friends and colleagues who have expressed subtle or overt fears, anxieties, or cries of lament and doubt? How can you respond?
  • Have you found resources for expressing your own pain, doubt, or limitations?
  • What habits do you have ready-to-hand that can help draw you out of these dark places?
  • Now ask yourself, am I practicing these?

These are not simply questions; they are lifelines.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Original Article

92555022_10222595900949963_728006147902013440_n landscape pasco county floridaThe Salvation Army of Pasco County (New Port Richey, Florida) is doing its part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through making face masks for local medical personnel, first responders, essential business employees, and those in their domestic violence shelter.

“We quickly began to realize that masks were greatly needed in our community by those that so tirelessly care for us every day, as well as the most vulnerable that we serve,” says Major Shannon Winters, Administrator for The Salvation Army serving Pasco County. “While many agencies in our area were able to fill in gaps in other areas of need, this need was left unmet.”

Masks have been provided to hospital and NICU nurses, hospice care providers, the local Sheriff’s office, bank tellers, mail carriers, domestic violence shelter residents, and the elderly. They have also partnered with the local homeless coalition to distribute face masks to homeless individuals across the county.

“We knew that we couldn’t cure COVID-19, but we could help ‘flatten the curve’ in our community if we could help provide face masks to those that needed them.” 92242922_10222596039953438_8050081306249265152_n pasco county florida

The group of makers started out as Salvation Army employees making them during their lunch breaks but has since grown to members of their women’s ministry program as word began to spread about the project.

“As this is an activity that they could safely participate in from a distance, and even from home, it helps volunteers contribute to our service to the community.”

The Salvation Army of Pasco County also offers utility assistance to those impacted by the economic climate, as well as the life-saving service of shelter to survivors of domestic violence and their dependents.

“While it has been said that we are all ‘safer at home,’ to victims of domestic violence, this is not always true. By offering safe shelter and assistance with all human needs, victims are not forced to choose between safety from COVID-19 and safety from abuse,” says Winters.

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19 in Florida.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

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A message from General Brian Peddle, International Leader of The Salvation Army

Surely he took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(Isaiah 53:4-6 Berean Study Bible)

The Easter message is the most profound, true, life-changing, life-giving message we can ever hear, respond to and participate in. In short, the Easter story is the culmination of God’s plan of salvation for the redemption and restoration of humanity. Such unconditional sacrificial love unleashes the mercy, grace and forgiveness of God. We should be experiencing boundless joy, caught up in awe and wonder, celebrating our new-found freedom and living in a new dynamic relationship with the Almighty.

We see in these verses from Isaiah just what God has done for us in Jesus. In going to the Cross, Jesus does something extremely positive, yet it involves him being subjected to pain, ridicule, brokenness and separation from the Father with whom he has shared a deep intimacy for all eternity. Jesus takes on everything that is negative, destructive and painful. This display of genuine, unconditional and sacrificial love is unparalleled in human history.

Even as we read and consider what Jesus takes on himself, we sense a release, an unburdening and a freedom. Jesus takes on our infirmities and carries our sorrows. Yes, there is a glimpse of the humanity of Jesus here as the Word that became flesh (John 1:14) – fully human while fully divine – understands the frailty, weakness and imperfection on a personal level. Having said that, we need to recognize that there is much more going on.

Jesus is doing more than identifying with us. He is taking on our weaknesses, infirmities and sorrows so that we don’t have to carry them. Link that opening statement to Philippians 4:6-7 (Do not be anxious about anything …) and 1 Peter 5:7 (Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you) to better understand what is offered to us in Jesus. Look again at what happens to Jesus – he is pierced, crushed, punished and wounded. Why would Jesus accept all of that? Why would God allow his only Son to endure all of that?

Another read of the verses from Isaiah illuminates what we receive through
this sacrifice – peace and healing for ourselves. The punishment inflicted upon Jesus brings us peace. We experience healing because Jesus was wounded. It is almost beyond our understanding, but a horribly painful moment brings us healing and a horrifically violent act brings us everlasting peace.

There is something of an unfair transaction going on that demonstrates the extravagance of God and his unmerited favor that we call grace. There is also something profoundly theological, sacrificial and covenantal taking place.

The sacrificial code and practices we find in the Old Testament are there to atone for our sins and imperfections. Here on the Cross, the spotless Lamb of God pays the ultimate sacrifice once and for all, ushering us into a new dispensation of grace and deliverance.

We have peace with God because of all that was accomplished by Jesus, and this peace is experienced by having faith in Jesus (see Romans 5:1: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ). Yes, it’s that straightforward – we don’t have to complicate it!

The Easter story doesn’t end with Calvary. Easter Sunday is about resurrection and new life. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are reminded that, If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! The old reality of being held captive by sin, of death being our final enemy, is gone! On Easter Sunday, we rise to new life in Christ – that new life is eternal life, it encapsulates victory over sin and death, it includes our healing and wholeness, it is a life of deep peace.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

This Easter, you can experience healing and wholeness in Christ. It’s why Jesus came to earth. It’s what God desires most for you.

We hope you will be blessed by ‘And Can It Be’ from The Salvation Army’s Southern Territorial Songsters (Choir): https://youtu.be/Yy5G0j5T7_Y

When we think of those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, we think of our much-needed medical professionals and first responders. Still, thankfully in St. Petersburg, Florida, one neighborhood also thought of The Salvation Army.

Pam and a group of her neighbors had seen the call to make washable, reusable facemasks from fabric to help cut down the spread of the virus.

Knowing those that live and work at emergency shelters can be vulnerable populations, the group of neighbors sewed more than 100 colorful and most importantly washable face masks, enough for each staff member and resident at The Salvation Army.

“Every day we are working with staff and residents to practice social distancing and increase daily cleaning measures to keep everyone safe and healthy,” says Lt. Colonel Gary Haupt, Salvation Army Area Commander in St. Petersburg, Florida. “But when you have a group think of you and bring you a gift like these masks, you are reminded you are not alone, we are all in this together, and we will get through this as a community, helping each other.”

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19 in Florida.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.