Archive for the ‘Holiday News’ Category

The 2011 Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Christmas season kicks off this month not only with the Annual Red Kettle Campaign and Angel Tree program, but with a familiar “face” as well.

 Rumble the Bison, mascot for The Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team, is the honorary chair of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s annual Christmas campaign. Fans can expect to see the bison ringing bells, hanging Angels on the Angel Tree and encouraging others to give.

 “Rumble is a beloved personality in Central Oklahomaand throughout the state. In addition, Rumble is famous for giving his time and talents to help better our community, so we invited him to be the face of the Christmas campaign this year,” said Area Commander Major Dan Proctor. “The honorary chair is chosen for his or her commitment to the community… I think it’s safe to say this is the first time a bison has been chosen.”

 As the honorary chair, Rumble will kick off  The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign at 10 a.m. Nov. 25 at the Norman Walmart on Interstate Dr., and will unveil this year’s Angel Tree at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 18 at Quail Springs Mall. In addition, he will be in all of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma’s promotions for Christmas.

 “The Thunder is proud to continue its partnership with the Salvation Army. Together we will be able to touch the lives of thousands of Oklahomans during the holiday season. This year we are especially thrilled for Rumble to chair the prominent Red Kettle campaign,” said Thunder Director of Community Relations Christine Berney.

 Fans can keep track of Rumble throughout the campaign on his Facebook (rumblethebison) and twitter (@rumblethebison) page, Berney added.  

 Since his debut in 2009, Rumble the Bison has completed over 1,200 community appearances throughout the state of Oklahoma, averaging more than 400 a season. In addition to birthday parties, city parades and school visits, Rumble can be spotted supporting non-profit agencies across the state. He annually participates in Central Oklahoma’s Race for the Cure, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon as Kids Chair, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree launch and the United Way Campaign for Central Oklahoma.

 The Salvation Army uses Red Kettle donations for services to the Central Oklahoma area, capped off by its Christmas assistance program. Last year, Central Oklahomashoppers donated more than $430,000 to the Red Kettles, the most ever raised in the area.

 Throughout the past years, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma continues in its mission of “Doing the Most Good” and has seen an increase in services. The Salvation Army depends upon Kettle donations and other fundraising efforts throughout the Christmas season to help feed, clothe and shelter people all year long. .

 The Salvation Army will once again provide toys and clothes to 2,000 families in Central Oklahoma through the Angel Tree program with Angel Trees located at both Penn Square and Quail Springs malls. Gifts are also given to nursing home residents.

 The Salvation Army and its officers are deeply committed to carrying out its ministry not only during the holiday season, but year round, said Major Proctor.

 “Although our visibility is more heightened during the holidays, it is important that the community knows that our programs are ongoing,” said Major Proctor.  “We all need to come together to revitalize and strengthen the core of our local community by ‘Doing the Most Good’ and offering support any way we can. Rumble also brings the community together, so he is a perfect fit for our Christmas outreach.”

 To volunteer to ring bells or for more information about Christmas programs and events planned by The Salvation Army, call Heide Brandes or Lois Green at 405-246-1100. Paid bell ringing positions are also available, although volunteers are preferred.

Courtesy of http://www1.salvationarmy.org/heritage.nsf/36c107e27b0ba7a98025692e0032abaa/374b106350485024802569580046388b!OpenDocument

“I PROMISE YOU NOTHING!”
When President Wilson declared war against Germany on April 7, 1917, Americans were psychologically unprepared to participate in the “war to end wars,”

Evangeline Booth(USA National Commander 1904-1934) summoned a Salvation Army National War Council and created a National War Board to meet the needs of American soldiers. She appointed national, territorial, and provincial war secretaries so that the entire Salvation Army was placed on a war-service basis.

The Army set up service centres, hostels, adjacent to United States military camps. But Evangeline wanted to do more than serve military in the United States. “American boys are going to France,” she said. “We must go with them.”

She sent Lt. -Colonel William S. Barker to France to find out how The Salvation Army could best serve the American troops. Barker found that American Expeditionary Forces, upon landing in France, did not go to the front at once.

Soldiers who had expected to be participating in great battles found themselves drilling in mud from morning to night. An epidemic of homesickness spread through the troops.

Barker cabled: “SEND OVER SOME LASSIES.” Evangeline determined to send only the very best. “I felt it was better to fall short in quantity than to run the risk of falling short in quality,” she stated. ” Quality is its own multiplication table. Quality without quantity will spread, whereas quantity without quality will shrink.”

The first group of 11 officers (a married couple, 4 single women and 5 single men) sailed on August 12, 1917. Evangeline charged them: “You are going overseas to serve Christ. You must forget yourselves, be examples of His love, willing to endure hardship, to lay down your lives, if need be, for His sake. In your hands you hold the honour of The Salvation Army and the glory of Jesus Christ…. Anyone failing will be shot! She concluded, “I promise you nothing. I don’t know what you will get into, it may be life, it may be death; it may be sickness, it may be loss – I promise you nothing!”

By October, 1917, ensigns Helen Purviance and Margaret Sheldon had been appointed to the First Division, at Montiers-sur-Saulx. After 36 days of steady rain, with a blanket of depression hanging over the whole area, they agreed that “we ought to be able to give them some real home cooking, “but supplies had run out and were difficult to buy locally. The only things they could purchase were flour, sugar, lard, baking powder, cinnamon, and canned milk. “What about pancakes?” “No good cold, or without syrup.” “Doughnuts?”

the ‘Lassie’ who fried the first doughnut in France

The first doughnuts were patted out by hand. A small wood fire was coaxed in a low, pot-bellied stove. A frying pan was used and the first doughnuts were fried “seven at a time.” The tempting fragrance of frying doughnuts drew the homesick soldiers to the hut, and they lined up in the rain, waiting for a taste. The word went around. “If you’re hungry and broke, you can get something to eat at The Salvation Army.”

refreshments in the trenches

The doughboys noticed that Salvationists catered to their needs rather than hobnobbing with officers. As instructed by Evangeline, none went near an officers’ mess. They trudged through the sticky mud to the chow line to get in line with their “boys.”

The doughnut girls saw death frequently. During major engagements, they often worked in field hospitals. Soldiers who had died during the previous twenty-four hours were buried each afternoon. Sometimes only a few people could be present.

USA Doughnut Girls – Ansauville c.1918

The girls would always attend the burials, singing, praying and leaving wild flowers at the graves. Off to one side, the Germans were buried. When the simple services for American soldiers were over, the girls would say, “Now friends, let’s go and say a prayer beside our enemy’s graves.”

It’s Valentine’s Day today. 

A holiday to show appreciation to the ones you love, Valentine’s Day is the day of first dates, anniversary dinners, bouquets of roses and hundreds of thousands of boxes of chocolate.

It’ll also cost you. The average bouquet of a dozen roses can run between $50 to $200. Jewelry – especially diamonds – can cost you even more!

But, for the frugal romantics out there, gifts do come for $25, a bargain when faced with a hundred-dollar bouquet of flowers that will die in a week.

For instance, for $25 you can buy:

* Cute message candles

* Mini gift basket of lotions

* A single rose

* An engraved purse mirror

* Two steaks, purchased at the grocery store, and grilled at home

* A silver photo frame

* A stuffed animal.

See, $25 can do a lot! Just because something is small – under $25, in this case – doesn’t mean that it doesn’t carry immense value to the person receiving the gift.

The Salvation Army is a perfect example. You may not think that a donation of $25 makes a big difference when faced with the overwhelming poverty and suffering in the world, but here’s an example of what $25 can do:

* Feed a family of four for a week – longer if they visit The Salvation Army Food Pantry

* Can purchase yarn and quilting supplies for one large quilt made by seniors in a Salvation Army Senior Center

* Can purchase nearly 10 packs of underwear for children returning to school.

* Can purchase two box fans to give to the elderly during the summer heat.

* Can buy 5 new Bibles for men staying in the Men’s Shelter

* Can purchase 4 large cans of coffee to give to the homeless on a cold winter day

* Can buy board games and books for children staying in the Family Shelter.

Again, $25 is looking to be a pretty powerful number.

So, when you’re rushing out to buy that last-minute gift for your Valentine, remember it’s not how much you spend, but how much joy and love you give.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Central Oklahoma residents donated a record $561,020.99to the 2010 Red Kettle Christmas Campaign in Oklahoma, Cleveland and Canadian Counties, the highest amount ever raised in Central Oklahoma, said Central Oklahoma Salvation Army Area Commander Maj. Dan Proctor.

 Totals for Bellringing include:

            Oklahoma County: $438,157.99  (Goal was $433,000)

            Cleveland County: $96,363  (Goal was $95,000)

            Canadian County: $25,635.31 (Goal was $24,000)

The Salvation Army attributed the campaign’s ongoing success to the continued support of retailers who invited the Red Kettle bell ringers to their front doors, volunteers who gave their time and the overall generosity of the community.

 “This year’s Red Kettle results show the extraordinary compassion of local residents and retailers,” said Maj. Proctor. “We are extremely grateful to all the contributors that opened their hearts to help their neighbors.”

 Oklahoma City’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign donations far exceeded last year’s record of $411,000 raised in Oklahoma County. The lack of snow days and higher awareness also contributed to the success of the 2010 campaign, said Maj. Proctor

Funds raised through the Annual Red Kettle Campaign helps fund Christmas and other programs throughout the winter, including the public food pantry, utility assistance, senior programs, shelter programs and The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs.

 “We are touched and humbled by the support of Central Oklahoma residents,” Proctor said. “Every dollar raised helps a family in need. With this generosity, The Salvation Army will continue to ‘Do the Most Good’ by providing hope and help to those who are suffering.”

 From its humble beginnings as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable outreach efforts in the United States. As part of the drive, more than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers fan out across the country to ring bells and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. The nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) are all returned to help those in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army serve more than 31 million Americans in need, including 6 million who received holiday assistance such as toys, coats, rent and utility assistance, among others.

Linda Day, center, shows off the 278 lap blankets she made for seniors to Major Margaret Kennell, right, and Women's Auxiliary member Shirley Tabor.

Linda Day of Midwest City knows how it feels not to be able to afford Christmas presents for her children. More than 50 years ago, Day and her husband faced a Christmas of poverty – bills piling up, no food and no gifts.

They visited The Salvation Army where they lived, and they received toys for their kids plus a $15 food voucher that allowed them to purchase food for a Christmas dinner. She said The Salvation Army helped in other times as well, including a time when her husband had a new job that required white pants. They couldn’t afford to buy the white pants, but The Salvation Army gave them a pair.

Decades later, Mrs. Day is giving back to the organization that lent a hand up throughout her family’ life. She decided to hand-make 267 lap quilts, which she donated this year to The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command as a way of giving back and saying thank you.

 “The Salvation Army has helped me in my life,” said Day. “I wanted to help someone too. I think this will be something I do every year.”

 Mrs. Day creates the lap blankets with her husband, who is also retired. The blankets were included with every senior citizen gift given by The Salvation Army over Christmas.

 

The old man hunched over his plate of eggs, sausage and hashbrowns, quietly scooping the food into his mouth.

His fingers were stained with dirt, and his beard was as wiry and gray as an old scour pad. The dingy woolen hat on his head was pulled low to cover his eyes.

Still, when a Salvation Army volunteer, draped in a red volunteer apron, approached him, he flashed a small smile.

“How do you like the meal?” she asked.

The old man nodded. “It’s good,” he mumbled. “I never get hot breakfast. First hot breakfast in months.”

Just walking by the tables on Thanksgiving morning at The Salvation Army’s annual City-Wide Thanksgiving Brunch, I heard so many stories similar to that. I watched the volunteer start a bit, surprised by the starkness of the man’s comment. She glanced around, snuck back to the serving line and smuggled the old man another heaping plate of food.

Everyone let her.

Other families trudged into The Bricktown Coca-Cola Event Center Thanksgiving morning with children in tow. Many sat quietly, their children doing the excited talking.

For the past few decades, The Salvation Army has served a traditional Thanksgiving meal on this holiday. This year, we tried something a little different.

Noticing that families began lining up at 7 a.m. for an 11 a.m. meal – and because so many other organizations now serve turkey dinners, bless them – we saw that a breakfast brunch might be more needed.

So, instead of slinging our famous turkey and stuffing, we offered a hearty breakfast to all – eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy! We had donuts that Krispy Kreme donated. Coffee and juice flowed like manna!

Our 200-plus volunteers packed the house, willing to seat families, guests and the homeless. They served the tables as if in a sit-down family restaurant while other volunteers filled the plates and handed out apple juice and coffee.

By 10 a.m., hundreds of people had been fed. The Salvation Army band played. The media all came out to share in the celebration.

But most importantly – everyone in need received a hot meal, a warm smile.

It was truly a day to be thankful for.

A happy mom receives presents for her children during The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Angel Tree Distribution.

Christmas is over.

The presents have been given from the Angel Tree program, senior centers received their gifts, emergency cases were filled and hundreds of turkeys and hams and toiletry boxes were handed out as well (from Feed the Children).

Making sure more than 2,000 families have a Merry Christmas is a huge undertaking. Hundreds and hundreds of volunteers man the Angel Tree at Penn Square Mall, help sort and intake gifts at The Christmas Distribution Center, make pick ups of other gifts from corporations, make sure every gift goes to the right child and helps to bring the gifts to families who arrive.

Thousands of hours of bellringing were conducted and more than $100,000 was raised through our volunteer and paid Bellringers. All that money goes to help feed and shelter and provide hope to your neighbors.

Although stressful and busy, I think this is the time of year when the world can see what The Salvation Army does every year, and also all year round.

Hope everyone had a merry Christmas and here’s to a blessed new year!

Thank you, everyone, for your support.

From 8 to 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 25, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command will serve a hearty Thanksgiving breakfast to any and all who arrive at the annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bricktown Coca-Cola Event Center, 425 E. California.

Because so many organizations and churches now serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the community, The Salvation Army decided to fill the need for an earlier meal. Instead of dinner, The Salvation Army will serve a traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, hashbrowns and biscuits and gravy to the community.

“We noticed that people began lining up for dinner as early as 7 a.m.,” said Major Francina Proctor, Central Oklahoma Area Command.

“We decided to offer a breakfast this year to offer to families to get them on their way to all the other events later in the day. It’s a need we saw that wasn’t being filled.”

Last year, more than 1,300 citizens were served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, complete with the fixin’s and dessert. This year, The Salvation Army expects more visitors for breakfast and will rely on an army of more than 200 volunteers to help bring the holidays to the homeless or lonely. 

Some other fast facts about our Thanksgiving Dinner:

      * The motorcycle gang The Rough Riders will volunteer to deliver Thanksgiving Meals to the homebound.

      * Entertainment will be provided by The Salvation Army.

      * Set up for the event begins at 6:30 a.m. that morning (decorating)

      * Krispy Kreme will donate nearly 80 dozen donuts to give out as people wait

GREAT piece on News OK about The Angel Tree Kick-Off. Thunder Girls really showed their talent!

 

http://www.newsok.com/multimedia/video/681516909001

With the help of Rumble the Bison and The Oklahoma City Thunder, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command officially opened the 2010 Angel Tree this morning.

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command is once again asking citizens to adopt needy children and seniors through its Angel Tree Program.  This year the Angel Tree is located on the second floor at Penn Square Mall near The Buckle.

Adoption of these children and seniors helps to provide Christmas cheer and presents for 2,000 community families and seniors from the Salvation Army’s five senior centers and social services programs.

The Angel Tree program, which features paper angels listing a child or senior’s age, name and Christmas wishes, will provide presents for thousands of needy children and seniors who otherwise would not receive gifts.

We urge the citizens of Central Oklahoma County to support the Angel Tree program and be a part of providing a meaningful Christmas to as many as possible,” Major Francina Proctor said.

Citizens can choose Angels at the Penn Square Mall location. When the presents are returned from the mall and the businesses, hundreds of volunteers will work to “process” the gifts at The Salvation Army Christmas Distribution Center, located this year at the empty Walmart Building at Reno and Midwest Blvd. in Midwest City.

The unwrapped gifts will be sorted, put into individual family boxes and handed out December 15, 16 and 17 to the families who signed up. Parents are encouraged to wrap the gifts themselves after picking them up at the distribution center.

The senior citizen gifts are wrapped at the distribution center and delivered to the senior centers.

Volunteers are needed to receive, process and distribute the toys at The Salvation Army Toy Distribution Center, located at 7500 East Reno/Midwest Blvd. in Midwest City from December 6 to 17. Those interested in volunteering can call Volunteer Coordinator Lois Green at 246-1101.