Posts Tagged ‘family’

 Linda Day of Central Oklahoma had worked hard all her life, but she still wanted an engaging activity to enjoy when she retired.

She started making quilts, a relaxing hobby that she and her husband could both share, and those quilts were given to the Veterans Administration hospitals and nursing homes. Linda made quilts so well and so fast, she realized the organizations couldn’t take all the quilts she was making.

When Linda was younger and her children were small, she knew firsthand the difference The Salvation Army made in the lives of those in need. When her family faced a financial crisis and Christmas was out of the question, she turned to The Salvation Army, which provided her family with more than she thought possible.

Now, in a position to help others who are in need, she told her husband that she would start giving the quilts to The Salvation Army, and for the past two years, The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command has received more than 700 quilts from Ms. Day for the Christmas Angel Tree.

Ms. Day was one of hundreds of Salvation Army volunteers who gave so much of their talents and skills to The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command in 2011. She also received special recognition this morning at the Annual National Salvation Army Week Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.

Although all our volunteers received certificates and thanks, a handful received special recognition for their outstanding contributions.

Boys & Girls Club:   Shana Perry  Principal Del Crest Middle School

 

Mrs. Perry has been an Advisory Council Member for The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greater Oklahoma for about 1 year. Her leadership in helping the Club host the Harlem Ambassador’s Charity Basketball Game enabled the Club to raise nearly $7,000.  She was instrumental in securing a venue for the event and handled most of the logistics for the night. She went above and beyond the call of duty to make things happen and the event was a success.

Her participation on the Advisory Council has been helpful to the Club staff. Whenever guidance and advice is needed, she is there. If it’s mentoring the kids that come to the Club, she is readily available. Mrs. Perry has a keen understanding of the environment that the Club kids come from and she understands what it takes for them to succeed.  She was recently awarded Middle School Principal of the Year and The Boys and Girls Club is proud to honor her as our 2011 Club Volunteer of the Year. 

Christmas Kettles  Rotary Club 29

The Rotary Club 29 began their support of the Christmas Kettle drive in 1943 under the leadership of Rex Hayes.  They started out as a small, but a powerful group of men and have grown to over 582 strong.  With the growth of the club also came growth of their support.  They now cover 14 kettle locations for an entire day during The Christmas Kettle season.  Rotary Club 29 has raised over $260,000 throughout the years.

Seniors Programs:

Citadel Senior Center’s Wanda McPherren teaches Bible study every Tuesday.  She is dedicated to God and to teaching his word to the people that attend her class.  She is faithful in her service and allows nothing to cause conflict with this commitment she has made.  Our members look forward to her class every week.

 

Reding Center’s Eva Zamora is a wonderful volunteer.  She is still active at 85 years young.  She speaks limited English but doesn’t allow this to be a barrier in her serving.  She faithfully wraps eating utensils, serves lunch and takes care of delivering meals to our homebound.  The Reding Center is a better place for our members with having someone like Eva.

 

Warr Acres Senior Center’s  Oma Bennett Nolan is a dedicated volunteer and always full of fire and life.  She is to do anything that needs to be done and always exceeds what is expected. Ms. Oma has a perpetual smile of joy, and her energy keeps the senior center hopping.

 

Shelter Programs:  Rebecca Marfurt

Rebecca’s first experience with The Salvation Army was at the annual bike assembly in 2009 when she helped assemble hundreds of bicycles for Angel Tree children.  At the time, she had been going through a difficult time of life, and she decided that volunteering would lift her spirits and bring her happiness.  After helping assemble bikes, Rebecca decided to look into ongoing opportunities for helping at The Salvation Army.  When she saw the garden area for the Family Shelter, it peaked her interest.

Rebecca has a love for gardening and creating a beautifl space at the shelter was an opportunity for her to share that joy with others.  It became her personal goal to make the entry to the Family Shelter inviting to whomever walked through the front gates.  She gardens during her lunch break and she takes pride in the beauty that is shared daily with all who enter.  “Volunteering for The Salvation Army has been far more rewarding than I could ever imagine,”  said Ms. Marfurt.

 

Social ServicesShannon Ballesteros

Since March 2011, one group of volunteers have provided thousands of hours and personal funding during 2011 by taking a “personal ownership” of the Social Services Department of The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command’s “Food Pantry.”

Although this is a family effort, Shannon Ballesteros took the lead, guiding her family in an effort to make the food pantry more efficient and organized. This family of volunteers began with that one vision and has since gone beyond what most volunteer groups can accomplish.

This group, compiled of seven volunters, has cleaned, sorted, built shelving, racks and carts, procured equipment,  totally re-organized the pantry,  trained others to be productive volunteers and solicited assistance from both area companies and individuals.

Ms. Ballesteros even used personal funds to purchase needed items that would have otherwise not been available. She can also be seen sorting and organizing the thousands of coats that are donated in the “Warmth 4 Winter” program.

Do yearn to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate? Do you have talents and time you wish to share with others.

Volunteer today with The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command. Call our volunteer coordinator at 405-246-1101.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Associated Press article:

A survey of Salvation Army youth programs in more than 80 cities shows more than eight in 10 programs saw increased demand from children and families in the past year as unemployment and funding cuts strained charities.

The survey released to The Associated Press found 56 percent of the charity’s youth programs – including camps, preschools, daycare and after-school programs – are operating at or beyond their capacity.

The report, “Growing Up in a Downturn,” also examined the Great Recession’s effect on youth programs since 2008. Since then, 41 percent of the programs have had to cut back services or close their doors because of insufficient funding. Sites in Los Angeles, Rockford, Ill., and Memphis, Tenn., were among those forced to scale back.

Salvation Army Commissioner William Roberts, the charity’s national commander, wrote in the report that the increasing demand shows parents across the country are facing daily questions about how to provide for their children when even social service programs have to make cuts.

“Should they spend their latest pay check on food or rent?” he wrote. “How can they spend time with their children while working two jobs?”

In raw numbers since 2008, attendance at Salvation Army daycare programs increased by more than 40,000 children. Overall, the charity has seen an increase in need across all of its programs. In 2010, it provided assistance to 30.2 million people in the U.S., compared with 28.9 million in 2007.

At the same time, giving to the Salvation Army has been strained in some hard-hit regions with the highest unemployment. Programs that had to cut back are serving 10 percent fewer youths than before the recession on average, the report found.

In 2011, a third of the charity’s youth programs saw a reduction in contributions. For another 31 percent of them, donations remained flat. The report says many programs will see similar pressures throughout 2012, even though giving to the Salvation Army’s popular red kettle campaign was up last year.

In Memphis, Tenn., a decline of about 15 percent in donations amounted to the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Maj. Mark Woodcock, the area commander, said he had to close the doors of a subsidized childcare center that served low-income families for more than 30 years to focus on the most critical priorities of feeding and sheltering people.

In the charity’s women’s shelter with a capacity of 120 beds, 70 of them will go to children as a result of the ongoing economic slump, he said. So the shelter also provides tutoring and oversight to make sure those children attend school regularly.

“A lot of times people feel that the face of homeless is that man they see on the street corner,” he said. “Really the true face of homelessness is children.”

The Memphis chapter will be able to add more programs for children later this year with the opening of a $31 million Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. It’s one of 34 centers nationwide funded by a $1.6 billion gift from McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc when she died in 2003.

Even with challenges, many of the charity’s youth programs had been able to redirect services and resources to meet growing demand, the report found. In some cases, they have expanded or opened new youth facilities during the downturn.

In Kerrville, Texas, youth services were maxed out at serving 43 students each day in after-school programs with a small facility in the town of about 23,000 people, said Salvation Army Capt. Brett Meredith. With the building of a new $32 million Kroc Community Center that opened in November 2010, it can serve 200 students daily with a complex that includes two pools, a fitness center, dance studio and gymnasium.

Even still, there is a waiting list for as many as 50 needy youth who want to join the center’s programs.

“The gift made all the difference in the world,” Meredith said. Without it, “we’d be the same place we were five years ago.”

This is the first time the charity has released its internal data on its youth programs. Officials said the report is meant to show the need for continued public support for children’s programs. The Alexandria, Va.-based Salvation Army ranks as the nation’s second-largest charity by contributions after the United Way.

Nationwide, Col. William Harfoot, the Salvation Army’s national chief secretary, said the increase in demand has been the most dramatic he’s seen in 35 years with the charity. Maintaining some youth programs that provide recreation and music or arts lessons, for instance, can prevent other problems like drug addiction and poverty, he said.

Most funding must be raised locally. Only a few national gifts, such as a $1 million donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation last year, are distributed to regional offices.

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Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org