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Making a Difference: The Salvation Army and the transformative power of the Red Kettle program

Written by Ángela Andrada on Nov. 9th, 2023
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The Salvation Army, internationally recognized for its philanthropic activities, serves as a beacon of hope, breaking down barriers and lending a hand to those most in need. A closer examination of their work, especially their response to individual crises, highlights the substantial influence they exert within the Salem community.

Consider the uplifting story of “Sharon” (name changed for privacy reasons). Struggling with a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, her return to Salem was precipitated by her brother’s medical crisis. Previously, The Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Shelter had been her haven. During a recent crisis, the shelter once again provided refuge, offering not just a room and meals, but a roadmap to stability. Sharon’s journey from assistance at the shelter to obtaining employment as a caregiver and establishing her own residence illustrates the organization’s mission of providing more than just aid – it gives dignity and direction.

Sharon’s story is just one example of The Salvation Army’s dedication to their mission: to serve indiscriminately, encapsulated in the motto “Heart to God, Hand to Man.” This principle is palpably exhibited in their community initiatives, such as the Family Service office, the Kroc Center, and the renowned Red Kettle Campaign, a symbol of communal generosity since 1891.

The Salvation Army’s swift and empathetic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires – offering childcare for frontline workers and providing over 48,000 meals to wildfire victims – exemplifies their adaptability and unwavering commitment. As Captain Quinton Markham puts it, these efforts are driven by “the grace of God and the generosity of good-hearted people.”

The Salvation Army’s support for Sharon and many others reflects the broader influence they have on the community. In Salem, The Salvation Army is more than a service provider; it is an integral part of the city’s cultural fabric, touching the lives of those it helps uplift. As they continue to assist the most vulnerable, their work remains a potent expression of their foundational belief: in service, there is no distinction, only humanity.

Anyone moved to contribute can rest assured that their volunteer efforts and donations will be heartily welcomed, helping to uphold the Salvation Army’s legacy of service and compassion in Salem.

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