In ‘Corps News’ we share grassroots stories of how God is working in your corps and ARCs.
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YouTube star draws crowd
Newark, Ohio—Roman Atwood, a YouTube personality who makes public prank videos, knows how to draw an audience, and did it again for The Salvation Army.
Just before Christmas, a local Toyota dealer held a “meet-and-greet” event with Atwood.
“If you dropped off a Christmas toy for The Salvation Army, you got a chance to meet Roman and his wife, have your picture taken, and get an autograph,” said Kaye Hartman, volunteer coordinator at the corps.
Atwood, who was scheduled to be at the dealership from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 19th, actually stayed longer than expected.
“Before Saturday arrived, there were people pouring in from everywhere,” Hartman says.
By 8 a.m., people were lined around the building. Atwood finished greeting people at 7 p.m.
“On Sunday, they brought us seven pick-up trucks full of toys!” Hartman says.
Taking ‘a plunge’
Milton, Pa.— During the frigid month of January, The Salvation Army of Milton, Pa., held its third annual “Take the Plunge” event to help fund youth programs.
“The event usually takes place in a setting of about 25 degrees outside and 32 degrees in the water with some ice and snow to top it off,” says Joel Harris, the corps outreach ministry assistant. “This year, we got lucky and had an air temperature of 40 degrees and a water temperature of 38 degrees.”
Harris said the event drew 10 participants to the boat launch in East Chillisquaque, Pa., but there were about 50 spectators on site who donated $2,600.
The Standard Journal, a local newspaper, donated $125 and also provided free advertising and a video for the event. Harris said Chris Coup, a local realtor, promoted and even participated in the plunge.
30-year volunteer honored
East Stroudsburg, Pa.—Longtime volunteer Joanne Featherman, who has helped The Salvation Army for three decades, was honored at a recent recognition dinner.
Cari Friend, the executive secretary at the corps, said that, in addition to donating generously to the corps, Featherman has volunteered countless hours. She has worked in the food pantry, front office, Women’s Ministries (formerly known as Home League), and the Community Care Outreach Program.
She was honored in February along with more than 200 other volunteers. Accepting the award on her behalf was her son, Jeremy.
“Her son was inspired by his mother’s selfless giving and now leads our Bible Bowl program,” Friend says.
Refuge at ‘The Port’
McKeesport, Pa.—There has been a soup kitchen at the corps for many years, but now it has a name, “The Port.”
“We came up with this name because our soup kitchen, like a port, is a place for refreshment and care,” says Lieutenant Kate Esker, the corps officer. “It is also a play on the corps name, McKeesport.”
The Port offers lunch on Fridays and Saturdays and breakfast and dinner on Sundays. On Mondays, workers feed homeless people who live at a shelter and at a park in town.
“We’re feeding the people physically and spiritually. We are doing what we are called to do as a holiness movement,” Esker says.
“I am excited because this outreach program has brought new people into the corps. The meals are beneficial physically, and the homeless are being fed spiritually.”
Esker said the Sunday morning breakfast is at 9:30 a.m. And since the worship service is only a half hour later, “people have stayed to also feed their souls.”
Lorain, Ohio— Last May, the corps started the “Becoming Better At Living Life” (B.B.A.L.L.) youth basketball program.
“This program is more than basketball,” says Cassandra Marr, a case manager at the corps.
Marr said the evening begins with prayer and then the youth and coaches take part in drills and in an exercise session. The sessions are followed by a devotional.
“The youth take turns reading and sharing, guided by the corps officer and the coach. They provide insight into the Word of God, based on the lesson for that day,” Marr said.
After a short break, the youth play a competitive game.
“We have seen a tremendous improvement in their attitude, skill, and performance,” Marr said.
Parents have given Marr positive feedback on the program, saying it has helped their children in school and at home.
“This program is designed for the ‘whosoever….’ These children tend to be the ones who don’t fit into the crowd and who lack confidence,” he says.
“We are excited about working with youth by coaching them to become better at living life through the Word and love of Jesus Christ.”
Verizon grant benefits shelter
Rochester, N.Y.—The Salvation Army of Greater Rochester recently received a much–needed $30,000 grant, courtesy of HopeLine from the Verizon Foundation.
The grant will help pay for a case manager at the Army’s Hope House emergency women’s shelter.
Hope House is a 19–bed residential facility serving women age 18 and older and their children up to age 5. The shelter has served the community since 1999. Last year, the shelter helped 346 women and 64 children.
The goal of Hope House is to meet emergency needs of homeless women, such as their safety, shelter, food, and clothing. The women are connected to community resources that help them move toward transitional or permanent housing.
“When basic emergency needs are met, the next step is to help women move toward self–sufficiency,” says Christina Barnwell, program manager.
“The case management provided by this grant will truly make a difference in the lives of women who come to us for assistance.”
Seniors help the homeless
Newark, N.J.— In January, senior adults of The Foster Grandparent and the Senior Companion programs of Newark Area Services, joined other area seniors to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.
Maria Guzman, the foster grandparent program manager, said the theme was “Serve & Volunteer—Do One Thing For a Better World.” The event also included a collection of items that were distributed to about 100 homeless people.
“Because we intended to do what MLK wanted us to do—and that was to be united and do something for others,” Guzman said, “we collected two boxes full of socks, gloves, and hats for the homeless of our community.”
Guzman said about 150 people were fed at the event.
“Everybody ate and food was made available to the homeless. It was a great success for all attendees.”