The founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, said, “Don’t talk about compassion or the spirit of Jesus, do something.” The organization with the red kettles, collecting funds at the holidays outside stores, has 123 years of giving.
Ms. Cowen-Zanders, heads the Northwest Ohio office and has a budget of $3.5 million. She is the new Salvation Army. What steered her in this direction was a scene from her youth, when she was a student in Russia. She witnessed soup lines, men with torn clothes, beards, unkempt with a brokenness in the air. She watched an English lady serve them soup in their torn milk cartons. This lady was Army Major, Ivy Nash, and she talked with the men asking questions. They did not look up. This is when a modern woman knew what she would do someday.
The Salvation Army feeds the hungry, clothes people and assists them with housing, food, unemployment and toys, too. The mission is ‘soup, soap and salvation.’
Up until a week ago, things seemed gloomy for the red kettles, especially in Minnesota and North Dakota. A spokesperson stated her worries for the organization were due to the bitter cold and wintry condition after Thanksgiving.
Last week, though, something happened in North Dakota and Minnesota and a first in the history of the Salvation Army. They received a matching donation to the tune of $2 million from private donors. These anonymous donors spurred on the Twin Cities and donations increased, even over last year. The Salvation Army and the 123 years of giving, believes it may tallied up close to $10 million. Every year they have matching days and have not seen anything like this. The Twin Cities commander, Major Jeff Strickler, thinks this was a miracle.
Donations to the Salvation Army can be put in the red kettles, which you see placed outside of retail stores everywhere or online @ www.salvationarmy.org. You can also text Kettle to 80888 to donate $10.
In Las Vegas, the children receiving toys this year vs. last year is down from 9,000 to 6,000. Toys were picked up in red bags on Saturday at the Cushman Center. Two hundred volunteers filled 2,000 bags for these 6,000 children. This endeavor took them five weeks. People lose jobs, get behind on mortgage payments and can not afford Christmas. This program alleviates stress for many families.
Forty thousand dollars was spent on food cards, so each bag contained two toys per child with a $20 food card, too. The toys kids receive are priced from $15-$30 and the older kids age 13-14 receive two movie tickets and a gift card. Birth certificates, residency and proof of income were required, to be in line for the red bags from the Salvation Army.
Icy weather and a late Thanksgiving, have now brought in less than usual donations. People are encouraged to donate and drop the ten bucks, instead of the coins, if they can. One such donor, described as a Secret Santa from Joplin, Missouri has given $500,000 over eight years. The donor, identity not known, drops cashier checks wrapped in green bills outside a Walmart Store.
The Salvation Army collected $148.7 million in 2012 with an army of 25,000 individuals, mostly whom are volunteers. They’ve been in the red kettle business and have 123 years of giving to the poor.
By Kim Troike