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Goddest Johnson documenting calls placed for food and financial assistance at The Salvation Army Women’s & Children’s Shelter in Orlando.

 

Orlando, FL (January 27, 2020) – Meet Goddest Johnson, a longtime volunteer with The Salvation Army Orlando Metro Area Command. She is legally blind, but she does not let that stop her from volunteering her time to serve. Despite her disability, Goddest committed to volunteering as the front desk receptionist at our Women’s & Children’s Shelter, assisting our social workers by answering the phones and filing paperwork.

Eleven years ago, Goddest was involved in an accident that left her visually impaired. With two children to raise, she moved to Orlando, Florida, from Houston, Texas. Goddest was determined to overcome her disability and live her life. “I’ve always had a passion for community service,” she shares. Taking matters into her own hands, Goddest got involved with the National Federation for the Blind and was named Vice President of Community Service. She became an advocate for creating community service opportunities for the visually impaired.

“I reached out to The Salvation Army because they were an organization that helped me when I was younger. So, I reached out, and they gave me a chance,” Goddest explains. At the age of 12, Goddest and her siblings were placed in foster care after their mother’s incarceration. “The Salvation Army was an organization that would come. They provided food and clothing – we were in different group homes, and I remember it being a resource that helped us.” Goddest recalls the years of support she received as a child. “Angel Tree was how I got gifts from the age of 12 up until 17,” Goddest shares.

For the past four years, Goddest has rendered countless volunteer hours to The Salvation Army Orlando Metro Area Command. Whenever a call for volunteers goes out, Goddest is there. She has prepared meals and serve homeless individuals, she has assisted with the preparation for our annual Thanksgiving feast, she has stuffed hundreds of Christmas stockings for kids and senior citizens, and she has assisted with over two dozen events.

Goddest is on a mission to shed light on the opportunities that are available for people with disabilities. She wants to spread hope amongst those who may feel helpless because of a disability. “Never let it define who you are. You always have a way of doing what you can do your way. So, don’t let your disability, whatever it may be, hinder you.”

The Salvation Army Orlando Metro Area Command has over 2,000 active volunteers. To learn more about our opportunities, visit our website www.SalvationArmyOrlando.org or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Octavio Serrano at, 407-423-8581 ext. 26454.

 

 

Fred Wilcox

(ORLANDO, FLA.) – Admitting to your wrongdoings is a difficult task, but it is the first step to spiritual healing. Accepting your past is a big pill to swallow, but it is necessary for self-healing. Fred Wilcox, a former resident at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Orlando, knows these two challenges all too well. He sat down with us to share his story of hope, salvation, and rehabilitation.

Six years ago, Fred was faced with the consequence of his years of alcohol abuse. “I lost everything, my wife, my home”, he shared. Like many young adults with promising futures, the art of peer pressure led him down a path of destruction. “I started drinking when I was 13,” Fred revealed, “we did it because we like the way it made us feel.”

For years, Fred let his addiction control his way of life. He recalls the times when he was sleeping on his friend’s couch. He reminisces on the times he would sit around drinking, but something shifted in him. “I just was tired of not being able to support myself, I knew at that moment that something had to change,” Fred shared.

The Journey to Rehabilitation

Fred Wilcox

For that reason, he decided to turn his life around and regain control of his destiny. “I moved to Daytona Beach to try and get help, and they referred me to the ARC in Orlando.” The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Orlando is where Fred began his journey to self and spiritual healing. Upon arrival, Fred was embraced by a supportive team with a mission to heal, revitalize, and uplift his spirit. “They had group, individual, and work therapy, and a twelve-step program that really helps you,” he shared. After two years of hard work and self-discipline, Fred was rehabilitated, working, and providing for himself. His word of advice to those struggling with drug & alcohol addiction is this… “Don’t worry about doing it for other people, do it for you!”

The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) provide spiritual, social, and emotional assistance for men who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves. Each center offers residential housing assistance, work, group, and individual therapy, all in a clean, wholesome environment. The physical and spiritual care that program participants receive prepares them to re-enter society and return to gainful employment. To learn more about the ARC in Orlando, visit www.SalvationArmyOrlando.org or call 407-295-9311. Click here and subscribe to our YouTube Page for more powerful testimonies.

 

Watch Fred’s full story of Hope, Salvation, and Rehabilitation:

 

Want to share your story of how The Salvation Army Orlando Metropolitan Area Command helped you? Contact our Majorie Pierre at majorie.pierre@uss.salvationarmy.org.

Kevin Smith | kevin.smith@uss.salvationarmy.org

Orlando, FL – Salvation Army disaster response teams from the Orlando and Sanford corps continue to provide support to first responders and families at The Pulse nightclub, providing food, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care.

“Yesterday was a day of transition as we worked with the local, state, and federal teams to ensure the safety of the personnel on the ground,” said Major Ted Morris, Salvation Army Orlando Area Commander.  “With the heat index reaching into triple digits yesterday, people need to stay hydrated.  Heat exhaustion is a serious concern.”

Providing food and drinks is a core service of The Salvation Army, and while food service will continue, the more critical need is hydration.  In addition to its mobile canteens, The Salvation Army has also mobilized three Polaris utility task vehicles (UTVs) to more effectively distribute water and sports drinks to responder personnel throughout the secure area.   With streets blocked off to traffic, the Polaris UTVs have allowed teams to get resources to responders more efficiently, ensuring the safety of more than three hundred local, state, and federal personnel.

Major Ted Morris and Mr. Kelvin Coachman, Salvation Army Director of Social Services, are also coordinating with other community organizations to support families at the City of Orlando ‘one-stop’ assistance center, located at Camping World stadium.  The Salvation Army has positioned a second disaster response team at the stadium to provide hydration and snacks to family members seeking information and assistance.

“In the central Florida community, we support needy families every day, and in the days to come, we need to focus on finding resources for all those coping with this tragedy,” said Major Morris.  “Comfort may come in the forms of either financial assistance or physical aid, like hydration and snacks, but we also know that many of these families need to know that we care deeply and we grieve with them in their loss.”

The Salvation Army urges organizations wishing to partner in helping families recover to contact us at 407-423-8581.  Individuals, outside of Orlando, who wish to contribute may call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text “Orlando” to 41444.

“Yesterday, we received a generous donation of Gatorade and snacks from our local Sam’s Club,”  said Gene Daniels, Director of Operations at The Salvation Army Area Command.  “We were able to get that Gatorade immediately to the responders on scene thanks to our Polaris units and volunteers on the ground.  This is why we are here, showing the support and appreciation that we all feel for their efforts.”

Please continue to pray for the Orlando community.