20/20 Vision Highlights
Vision 20/20 is in full swing across the USA Eastern Territory. To help keep you informed of its progress, SAconnects magazine will publish highlights throughout the year, starting with these from Tonawanda, N.Y., Rochester, N.Y., Blue Point, N.Y., and Toledo, Ohio.
Meeting a need in Rochester
Members of the Rochester, N.Y., Temple Corps have found a way to reach out to and help kids in their community by providing backpacks full of school supplies.
Captain Dolores Minaya, Rochester Temple’s corps officer, said local businesses donated the first 50 backpacks. When more were needed, the Home League held a garage sale to buy 60 more. “This was a fun and wonderful activity that gave us the opportunity to reach some families for the Lord,” Minaya said. “We are excited because the community was eager to see the Army at work in their favor.”
Festival outreach in Toledo
The Toledo, Ohio, Temple Corps and beneficiaries from the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) teamed up for a fall festival that reached out to the neighborhood.
“We came together as a corps body and worked together to make this a great event for our community,” said Captain Angie Smith, the associate corps officer. “This was a way for us to be outside of our building and provide a wonderful opportunity for the children to experience a safe, fun atmosphere—free of charge.”
The corps used funds from the Divisional Headquarters to rent a bounce house and provide cotton candy, snow cones, and hot dogs in the parking lot.
“The children even had the opportunity to have their pictures taken alongside a parrot,” Smith said. “For some of the children, this was the first time they had been so close to such a bird.”
Soldiers enrolled in Tonawanda
Commissioners G. Lorraine and William A. Bamford, territorial leaders and authors of Vision 20/20, helped enroll 11 new senior soldiers at the Tonawanda, N.Y., Corps recently.
“As part of Vision 20/20, we are excited that God provided us with people— new souls, new hands, and new feet—serving the Lord as soldiers of The Salvation Army,” said Major Celestin Nkounkou, the corps officer.
Nkounkou said some of the new soldiers teach Sunday school, serve in the band, and take part in Home League and youth activities.
“Our new soldiers are now excited to be part of the Army and serve others through the different avenues of service we offer,” he said.
Testimonies of the new soldiers included a wide range of responses:
“This is my family.”
“I found a church home.”
“I’m glad to serve in the band.”
“I’m happy to help out whenever I can.”
Nkounkou said, “We are on a path to equip and empower people through our programs to fulfill the Great Commission.”
Seniors see a brighter day
People in nursing homes sometimes live lonely lives, particularly if visits from family members are rare. Lt. Charmaine Romano and Lt. Frenie Antoine of the Blue Point, N.Y., Corps know that all too well.
Recently, the officers visited 14 women at Cabrini Gardens Senior Citizens Housing. “They were happy and excited,” Romano said.
“They were laughing, smiling, and enthusiastic to share their stories with Lt. Frenie and me,” she said.
The group also sang praises to the Lord.
“We decided that delivering food boxes to the residents was not enough,” Romano said. “Although we love that we are able to provide assistance to the residents by way of food, we wanted to also go out and meet with them.
“We thought the ladies would love to do a craft. So we thought of a great craft they can enjoy, which was making edible arrangements. The women made pretty fruit baskets.”
The Blue Point Corps is located on New York’s Long Island.