Good News!

NFL’s Jets, Dairy Queen’s bikes, and the peoples’ garden

Fighting crime

Akron, OH—On Aug. 5, the Summit County Area Services took part in the 30th National Night Out Against Crime.

Marian Calvin, director of development, said the family–friendly neighborhood event focused on crime and drug prevention awareness. It included local support groups, entertainment, food, and games. It also offered information designed to: generate support for, and participation in, local anti–crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police–community partnerships; send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organizing and fighting back.

Calvin said a Salvation Army canteen distributed free hot dogs and encouraged participants.

Visiting NY Jets

Cortland, NY—Children who visited the NFL’s New York Jets training camp on July 24 received VIP treatment.

Lieutenant Shareena Echavarria said about 25 kids attended from the corps’ “Summer Fun Days” day camp.

Two vans arrived at the training camp, where officials waved the $20 parking fee.

And rather than assign seats in the bleachers, Jets officials notified the kids that they were “VIP” and directed them to a large white tent.

“Our kids were served ice cold water and fruit,” Echavarria said. “They had special front-row access to the field and were able to see all the stars right up close and personal.

“About midway through the practice, we were escorted to the other side of the field where some of the players ran right over to our kids!”

They got autographs and took photos with several players and with Rex Ryan, head coach.

“It was truly a day that our youth will always remember!” Echavarria said.

Open–air church

McKeesport, PA—God is moving at the corps, which on Aug. 10 held an outdoor service.

“Yes, an open air with 23 new people!” said Envoy Kate Esker. “It was an adventurous weekend and we claim that the Lord is going to continue to do amazing things in McKeesport.”

On the previous day, the corps held a carnival to mark the end of its summer day camp.

“It was a blast,” Esker said. “We were outside—cooking, dancing, singing, evangelizing, and preaching! It was amazing!”

Back to school

Norwich, CT—During the week of Aug. 11–15, The Salvation Army distributed new backpacks and supplies to returning schoolchildren.

“We distributed 46 backpacks and supplies for the children and young people who are in need for this school year,” said Captain Mindy Uttley, corps officer in Norwich.

Uttley said families signed up the last two weeks of July and community members helped pack the backpacks.

Vets honored

Old Orchard Beach, ME—Thirteen veterans associated with the Old Orchard Beach Corps were recognized at a recent Home League meeting.

The women of the Home League contributed funds to purchase toiletry items for kits to be presented to the veterans. Among the veterans was Home League member Rose Varney, who served in the U.S. Army and received the Purple Heart during the Vietnam War.

“It was a privilege for me to serve in the United States Army with the 52nd Combat Platoon in Vietnam,” Varney said. “I joined the Army in 1966. Prior to going into battle, I said, ‘Lord, I am in Your hands.’

“Having served only three days, I was wounded twice while helping to rescue two people in my platoon. Following nine months in the hospital, I was awarded the Purple Heart in 1967 and also the Good Conduct Award.

“The United States Army said I was eligible for an honorary discharge, but I refused it. I continued serving for eight months with my platoon.”

Coming together

Wooster, OH—The corps has planted a community garden on its property.

“This is an opportunity for The Salvation Army to engage the community of Wooster,” said Lieutenant Ashley Ferrell, the assistant corps officer. “We have our very own community within our walls because of our homeless shelter and our youth center. So we wanted to engage the people who are here every day.

“Some of our harvest will be used to serve our daily meals in our soup kitchen and youth center.”

Ferrell said members of the community donated everything needed.

SA addresses crisis

Toledo, OH—The Salvation Army sprang into action when 500,000 people in the Metro Toledo area found their water contaminated.

Residents were told that drinking, brushing their teeth, washing dishes, or bathing in the water was prohibited.

“We knew that in order to face this crisis head on, we had to divide and conquer,” said Captain Kevin Zanders, area coordinator for the Northwest Ohio Area Services. “I gathered all of the water bottles in our inventory and checked on people who were housebound or transportation limited.”

As the ensuing panic rendered all local and surrounding store shelves temporarily bare of bottled water, Captain Tawny Cowen-Zanders, associate area coordinator, drove 90 minutes south in bumper–to–bumper traffic to find more.

After purchasing the water, she realized that the weight of the load exceeded her vehicle limitations. Two good Samaritans saw her struggling and offered to follow her back to Toledo with the excess water.

During the three days the Northwest Ohio community faced this crisis, The Salvation Army served 2,407 individuals, including 140 housebound or transportation–limited households, distributed 8,113 water bottles, and served 812 meals and 516 snacks at six water distribution and housing sites located throughout the city.

Kids get bicycles

Plainfield, NJ—The corps, its advisory board, and Dairy Queen teamed up to make the summer a little better for kids.

Lieutenant Sara Barney, corps officer, said through the “Christmas in July” program held on July 23, the corps was able to give more than 160 children refurbished bikes.

“We preregistered all participants,” Barney said. “When they arrived, each child received an appropriately sized helmet and bike, had it registered with local law enforcement, enjoyed a hot dog or two, and proudly rode away!”

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