For centuries, Christians around the world have observed Lent in preparation for Easter as a way of drawing near and reflecting on Jesus’ death and resurrection and preparing themselves for baptism.

Before the fourth century, the traditional Lenten observance only lasted for 40 hours – the number of hours Jesus spent in the tomb. But since the early fourth century, Christians have fasted for the 40 days of Lent.

The number forty has several Biblical references: the forty days and nights of the great flood in the story of Noah (Genesis 7:4); the forty years the Hebrew people spent wandering in the desert (Numbers 14:33), and; the number of days Jesus fasted in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1–2Mark 1:12–13Luke 4:1–2).

For many who observe Lent today, the practice often involves giving up or “fasting” something important.

This year we invite you to take the #LentChallenge with us. Add something to your Lent observance that’s a bit more public – one where in addition to giving something up, you give something back.

You can give something easy, something needed. Like smiling at a stranger while you wait for the elevator. Or buying an extra cup of coffee and sharing a cup of encouragement for a co-worker, classmate or friend.

Or you can fast some of your time or financial resources to help us care for people who are struggling to make ends meet in your community. For instance, you can help pack up boxes at one of our food pantries or deliver hot meals to home-bound seniors. Or you can make a financial gift that helps us purchase the nutritious food that sustains our neighbors in need.

Sign-up for 40Acts: The folks at #40Acts are challenging us to “do Lent generously.” Click here and sign up at their website to receive a daily Lenten meditation and suggestion for an easy act of generosity. You’ll be glad you did.

Fast your time: Spend some time making life better for someone else who lives in your community. Click here to locate your nearest Salvation Army location and look for a meaningful way to give back. Invite a friend!

Fast your $$: The Salvation Army has dozens of ways to care about someone in need in your zip code.  Click here for our donation page so we can pool our gifts together to make life better for our neighbors. Thank you!

Thank you for taking the #LentChallenge with us. May your season be filled with meaning as you share and prepare for Easter.

>> This post originally appeared on ExpectChange.org <<<

 

Samantha Harris Good Dinner

Registration is now open for the 3rd Annual Doing the Most Good Dinner with Special Guest Samantha Harris!

For the past two years, the Doing the Most Good Dinner has raised much-needed funds for The Salvation Army’s programs and services.

This year’s event will be held on May 12 at the beautiful Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. following a special VIP Reception for sponsors at the $2,500 and above levels.

Tickets are available for $150, tables are available for $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. Sponsorship benefits can be found on the event page at the link below.

Fore more information on the event, please click here to visit the event page, or contact Jennifer Renfroe, Donor Relations Coordinator, at 727-725-9777, ext. 105.

 

 

 

 

600 children left to be adopted in Tampa Bay Area

TAMPA BAY, FL (December 4, 2015) – The Salvation Army is seeking help fulfilling wishes of local children in need this Christmas. In the Tampa Bay Area, The Salvation Army serves approximately 17,000 children every year through the Angel Tree Program.

The Salvation Army relies on companies and groups to provide toys and clothing for a majority of the children. Individuals may visit Angel Tree displays across the Bay Area to select children and purchase gifts.

“In Hillsborough and Pinellas County alone, there are still 600 children that need to be adopted for Christmas,” says Captain Mike Harris. “The deadline of December 11 is fast-approaching to get the gifts returned. We are relying on the generosity of our community to help make Christmas brighter for these kids.”

Primary locations to adopt Angels:

  • Countryside Mall in Clearwater, 2nd Level near Disney Store
  • Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, in front of JCPenney
  • University Mall in Tampa, former JCPenney store space
  • Any Winghouse Restaurant

For more information on how to adopt Angels in the Tampa Bay Area, visit www.SalvationArmyTampaBay.org.
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 About The Salvation Army in Tampa Bay

Last year, The Salvation Army in Tampa Bay served 169,086 individuals through a wide variety of programs and services, including utility, housing, and food assistance. 72,684 people were visited in hospitals, nursing homes and elderly residential homes to let them know that their community cares for them. 114,870 nights of sheltered were provided to homeless men, women, and children. The Salvation Army served 233,959 meals. In addition to these services, The Salvation Army continues doing the most good in Tampa Bay through youth character-building activities, summer camp, outreach, and various other programs. For more information, visit www.SalvationArmyTampaBay.org.

The Salvation Army is partnering with Bright House Networks to provide Back-to-School supplies for local children in need.

Supplies can be dropped off at The Salvation Army, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at:

1625 N. Belcher Road, Clearwater, FL 33765 and 340 14th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Supplies needed include: backpacks, pencils, glue sticks, composition books, colored pencils, 3-ring binders, crayons, paper, and erasers.

Want to help but don’t have time to drop off items? Click here to shop online and the items will ship directly to The Salvation Army!

The Salvation Army doesn’t take a summer vacation. 

Unfortunately, with many donors on vacation during the summer months, and the addition of children needing to be fed who would usually receive meals from school, our food pantry shelves are in danger of being bare.

YouGiveGoods is partnering with charities to encourage summer support by holding Pack the Pantry Giving Days from June 8 – June 12.

YouGiveGoods will donate 5% cash to The Salvation Army for any gifts of $50+ to our Online Food Drive!

We invite you to share this opportunity with your friends to help us make an ever greater impact in our community! 

With your help, we can fill our food pantry shelves for those who come to us in need throughout the summer.

Click here to visit the Online Food Drive!

CLEARWATER, FL (May 14, 2015) – The Salvation Army serving Upper Pinellas County is calling for food donations after the annual spring food drive falls short of expectations. “We collected approximately 17,000 items less this year compared to last year,” says Capt. Zach Bell, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army. “Donations of nonperishable food items during the spring are crucial in helping us serve those in need during the summer months.”

The Salvation Army sees families during the summer months that may not need food assistance at any other time of the year. Families whose children normally receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch during the school year will have the extra cost of providing them with these missed meals.

The Salvation Army works to ensure people in need will not have to choose between feeding their families and paying their utility bills. One way the community can help make this possible is by providing nonperishable food items to keep pantry shelves stocked year-round.

To help make up for the spring shortfall, The Salvation Army has launched an Online Food Drive where the community can purchase much-needed items online to be delivered directly to the food pantries where the food will be distributed. The Online Food Drive can be accessed by visiting www.SalvationArmyClearwater.org.

Items can also be dropped off at The Salvation Army Social Services Campus at 1521 E. Druid Road in Clearwater, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE ONLINE FOOD DRIVE!

Happy National Canned Food Month!

Why would someone want to celebrate canned food? Donations of canned food, and other nonperishable food items, help The Salvation Army serve the community in a BIG way!

Did you know? Last year, The Salvation Army serving Clearwater and Upper Pinellas County distributed food baskets to 24,488 households!

24,488 homes received a basket a food because our community is helping fight hunger. We could not serve so many in need without monetary donations, nonperishable food donations, and volunteers to help sort and package the food for distribution.

If you were a part of helping us provide food to those 24,488 households, THANK YOU!

What can you do to help this year?

When The Salvation Army runs out of food to give to those who come to us in need, we purchase food. If you would like to make a monetary donation to help purchase food when our shelves are empty, please click HERE and designate the funds for either Clearwater, FL or Zip Code 33765. This will ensure the funds are used to help residents of Upper Pinellas County – from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs and everywhere in between!

Your neighbors in need come to The Salvation Army for help all year round, as need knows no season. If you would like to help keep our food pantry shelves stocked so we can spend funds on providing other much-needed services, please consider hosting a food collection drive or donating nonperishable food items to our food pantries!

Do you work in an office? Attend a church? Have children in school? Go to a book club? It’s easy to host a food drive with your friends, family, co-workers or any group! Nonperishable food donations can be dropped off at The Salvation Army Social Services Centers at 1521 E. Druid Road, Clearwater, FL 33756 or 209 S. Pinellas Avenue, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 (click the link for office hours). For groups planning to collect 1,000 or more items, please contact Jerry Stickney, Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator, at 727-725-9777, ext. 105 or UpperPinellas@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Not sure what type of items we need? Click here to the list of most-needed items for our food pantries!

Looking for more ways to help? Before food donations can be distributed, volunteers are needed to help with sorting and packing! This process is extremely important because we need to have food baskets ready to give out at all times. To see when special food sorting days and other opportunities to volunteer are scheduled, please click here to view the calendar.

Thank you for celebrating National Canned Food Month with The Salvation Army!

Helping The Salvation Army provide toys for local children in need this Christmas just got easier!

Shoppers visiting participating Walmart stores from November 28 through December 14 have the opportunity to purchase and drop off new, unwrapped toys into the bins located near the exits or at the Red Kettle stands.

The Salvation Army will distribute the toys to local families through the Angel Tree Program in time for Christmas. Last year, over 800 toys were received through the Fill the Truck Campaign in Clearwater and Upper Pinellas County.

For more than 40 years, Walmart has been an essential partner of The Salvation Army across the country. This Christmas, we give thanks for Walmart and their customers for helping us make this season brighter for local children in need.

Toys can also be dropped off at The Salvation Army at 1625 N. Belcher Road, Clearwater, FL 33765, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. or at Westfield Countryside Mall at the Angel Tree display in front of the Disney store on the second floor.

Participating Walmart stores:

41232 Us Hwy 19 N, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
35404 US Highway 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684
3801 Tampa Rd, Oldsmar, FL 34677
1803 N Highland Ave, Clearwater, FL 33755
23106 US Highway 19 N, Clearwater, FL 33765
2677 Roosevelt Blvd, Largo, FL 33760
1111 Missouri Ave N,  Largo, FL 33770

Short Christmas season is likely factor

CLEARWATER, FL (December 18, 2013) – In 2012, The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign raised $345,000 here in Upper Pinellas County, but this year donations are down by 9%.  Kettle gifts stay in the community where the money is donated and help provide meals and shelter for families in need, Christmas toys for thousands of children locally, and many other services throughout the year.

 This year, because of a late Thanksgiving date, the kettle season is shorter by five vital days — which equates to potentially $50,000 less than in previous years — so donations coming in between now and the end of the year are critically important to The Salvation Army’s ability to meet needs here in Clearwater and Upper Pinellas County. Five fewer bell ringing days equates to about $20 million less in donations to The Salvation Army nationwide.

” …we’re hoping that shoppers will think of their neighbors in need the next time they pass a Salvation Army bell ringer, and give what they can.”

“The short kettle season is a major concern because the red kettle campaign helps fund our programs and services throughout the year. To many, the iconic red buckets represent a tradition of caring that is passed down through the generations. With less than a week left to see our kettles at storefronts, we’re hoping that shoppers will think of their neighbors in need the next time they pass a Salvation Army bell ringer, and give what they can,” said Captain Zach Bell, Commanding Officer for The Salvation Army in Clearwater/Upper Pinellas County.

To make up for the shortfall, The Salvation Army is encouraging the public to donate generously to the red kettles found in front of local retailers, or:

  • Online at http://www.onlineredkettle.org/clearwater,
  • By mail to 1625 N. Belcher Road, Clearwater, FL 33765,
  • By phone to Jennifer Renfroe at 727-725-9777 x 105, and
  • Via gifts of stock through Lindsay Crossland at 727-403-7766.

The public’s support will help ensure that The Salvation Army can continue to do the most good for those in need this holiday season and throughout the year.

 

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About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London 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 The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

 

About The Salvation Army of Clearwater/Upper Pinellas County

Last year, The Salvation Army of Clearwater/Upper Pinellas County served 51,609 individuals through a wide variety of programs and services, including utilities, housing, and food assistance. We visited 9,057 people in hospitals, nursing homes and elderly residential homes to let them know that their community cares for them. We served 26,798 people during the holiday season, many through our Joy Center Toyland program which provides toys for children who may otherwise go without at Christmas. Our wonderful volunteers gave 15,570 hours of their time to help us serve their neighbors in need. In addition to the programs already mentioned, The Salvation Army continues doing the most good for Upper Pinellas County through youth character-building activities, summer camp, outreach, and various other programs. For more information on how you can get involved, please visit www.salvationarmyclearwater.org.

Walmart and The Salvation Army have announced the start of the second annual Fill the Truck Toy Drive, which will bring hundreds of thousands of toys to children across the country.