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Kids having fun at camp

Sending Children Experiencing Homelessness and Poverty to Summer Camps

Local Individuals, Companies and Organizations are asked to Support this Critical Effort

AUSTIN, TX (May 11, 2016) – More than 125 local children ages 5 through 16 who are experiencing homelessness or poverty will attend summer camps starting in June. Many of these children are living in Salvation Army Austin emergency shelters, and some are living at home but because of financial constraints would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend summer camp like other children. Camp is important for every child, but it is especially important for children who are facing great hardships. The Salvation Army is inviting individuals, companies, churches and organizations to help raise the funds needed to make summer camp a reality for all of these children.

Summer camp provides stability and structure in the midst of chaotic times for children. Activities include team building, swimming lessons, exploring the great outdoors, playing sports and games, studying nature and wildlife, talent shows, faith-building lessons and much more. Day camps for children living in shelter, and overnight camps for children from The Salvation Army service center run from June 13 through mid-August.

young boy happy at camp

“Sending all of our children to camp is a monumental and critical undertaking,” says Stacy Schwarz, Assistant Social Services Director. “Without camp, they will have nowhere to go during the summer, and their moms won’t be able to go to work. Then if their moms can’t work, the families will not have the income to get housing and end the cycle of homelessness.”

In addition to providing wholesome and nurturing activities, sending these children to camp allows their parents to continue to work to provide for the family. While parents are working, going to school and taking necessary steps toward self-sufficiency and stability, they have the confidence of knowing that their children are being well cared for through meaningful and fun camping experiences.

One local donor, Anita Rodriguez, shares how attending Salvation Army camp many years ago with her brothers had a lasting impression on her. While her father was quite ill and often hospitalized, and her mother worked to support the family, she and her brothers were given the gift of Salvation Army camp. She donates regularly to The Salvation Army today because she wants to give other children the great experiences she had. Read her story and see pictures from her camp days, including a camp letter she sent to her mom and dad here: http://bit.ly/AnitasCampStory.

The community is invited help in the following ways:
· Donate online at http://bit.ly/DonateCamp2016.
· Text the word “LOCAL” to 91999 to make a donation of any amount.
· Donate by mail, and mark your check “Summer Camp”. Mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1000, Austin, TX, 78767.
· Purchase camp supplies and donate them at any of the four Austin area Salvation Army Family Stores. Get details here: http://bit.ly/CampForKids.

In addition to paying for camp registration, staffing and transportation, the funds will go to purchase basic supplies such as swimsuits, shorts, sunscreen, flashlights and all the small items children need to attend camp since these children may not have much more than the clothes on their backs. To learn more about the camp drive, visit http://bit.ly/CampForKids. The deadline for donations is June 15.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 127 years in the Austin area. Locally tens of thousands of people receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to those experiencing homelessness and case management to help people move from crisis to self-sufficiency. Eighty-two cents of every dollar The Salvation Army Austin spends is used to support those services in Travis and Williamson Counties. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org.

2016 Doing the Most Good Luncheon

2016 Doing the Most Good Luncheon, Thursday, April 21, 2016

A first in Texas history happened at this year’s Salvation Army Austin Doing the Most Good Luncheon as Dick Rathgeber a long-time supporter and Advisory Board member – pictured above with his wife, Sara – was presented with the Honorary Colonel designation in front of a record crowd of more than 650 people at the JW Marriott.  And through heartfelt giving, guests donated a record $274,000 in sponsorships and donations to provide emergency shelter and services to local women and families. (See press release here.)

In addition to luncheon honoree Dick Rathgeber becoming the first in Texas to receive the Honorary Colonel designation, he is only the eighth person in the world to receive this honor in the 150 year history of The Salvation Army.

Along with the award presentation, attendees were treated to a live musical performance and film featuring Sam’s story about his family and how The Salvation Army helped bring them from homelessness to self-sufficiency.  It was a very moving presentation, with songs intertwined with Sam speaking on how his family found help at The Salvation Army when they were facing homelessness.  Our local organization was able to provide them housing, food, bus passes and most importantly, the support they needed to get back on their feet.

2016 Doing the Most Good Luncheon

Event Chair Cathy Present with Sam Espinosa and Event Committee Members Mary Durham and Betsy Hester – Licarione Photography

Sam experienced all of this with his family when he was in high school. Once the family had become stable again in their own home, Sam applied to and was accepted at Yale University, where he went on to receive his degree. Back in Austin now and a successful businessman, Sam said, “You may wonder if what you are doing is working.  I’m telling you today that it worked for me and my family.”  He then invited the crowd to write a check to support local families like his who come for help every day, taking out his own checkbook to make the first donation.

Many thanks to Ramy Antoun of Creative Arts Group and Clayton Corn of Crosswind Events + Experiences, who produced this moving live performance and film.  Other thanks goes to our emcee, Bob Cole of KOKE FM, our event chair, Cathy Present and her hard-working committee and to our faithful volunteers.  We appreciate everyone who took time out to attend the luncheon and donated from the heart.  If you were not able to attend but would like to make a difference for a local family like Sam’s, click the button below to donate now.

Click on the photo below to see the photo gallery of all of our luncheon photos taken by Licarione Photography and others at this year’s 2016 Doing The Most Good Luncheon.  To request a print quality version of a specific photo(s), please email heidi.garcia@uss.salvationarmy.org and we will be happy to send you what you need.

WEB_LicarionePhoto_SalvationArmy_DoingTheMostGood_042116_115a5054

Jerry Dollar; Britni Peters; Heather Merz; Ben Estes – Licarione Photography

 

 

NHHAW National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2014

NHHAW National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is held each year the week before Thanksgiving. This is a time for us all to start to think about what we are thankful for, and a perfect time to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness.

This year, National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is November 15-23, 2014.

The Salvation Army Austin is participating in National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week not only to bring greater awareness to our community, but also to help to promote the national endeavor to end hunger and homelessness. The plight of those without a home, or those living in poverty, can be both lonely and difficult.

Women and Children Experiencing Homelessness

Did you know that more than 65% of the people The Salvation Army Austin serves who are experiencing homelessness are women and children? Women and children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in our community.

Below are two ways that you can make a difference for these women and children – and others in our community during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Please consider sharing your efforts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, using #NHHAW and tag @SalArmyAustin or Facebook.com/SalvationArmyAustin.

Diaper Drive for the Homeless

The public is invited to donate diapers for families who are experiencing homelessness. Diapers can be donated at The Salvation Army Downtown Shelter and Social Services Center at 501 East Eighth Street on Thursday, November 20, from 9 am to 4:30 pm. OR donate at any of the four Salvation Army Family Stores in Austin or Round Rock on Thursday, November 20. See our Family Store page for locations and store hours: http://bit.ly/FamilyStore . Each person who donates will receive a coupon to our Austin Salvation Army Family Stores.

Food Drive for the Hungry

Wolf Ranch Chick-Fil-A in Georgetown will be accepting donations of canned goods all day Monday, November 17 for The Salvation Army food pantry in Williamson County. Those who donate three cans of food will receive a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich. A special family time from 5-7 pm will include a visit by the Chick-Fil-A Cow and the Baby Cow along with a performance by The Salvation Army brass band.

summer-camp-banner-news

Give Local Kids The Gift Of Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 2015 Camp Drive details, click hereGive Kids the Gift of Summer Camp

 

The Salvation Army Is Sending Children Who Are Experiencing Homelessness or Poverty to Summer Camp

Individuals, Companies and Organizations are asked to Donate Supplies

AUSTIN, TX (May 27, 2014) – More than 100 children who are experiencing homelessness or poverty from The Austin Salvation Army Shelters and Service Centers, from ages 5 through 16, will attend summer camp starting June 16. Camp is important for every child, and it is especially important for these children in our community who are facing great challenges. We need the help of individuals, companies, churches and organizations to give these children the gift of summer camp.

“As you can imagine, going to camp is big deal to local kids who are living in shelters or in poverty,” says Stacy Schwarz, Assistant Social Services Director. “It’s one gift The Austin Salvation Army can offer them while their parents are busy each day working, studying or training to improve their employment.”

Summer camp provides stability and structure in the midst of chaotic times for these children. Activities include team building, swimming and swimming lessons, exploring the great outdoors, playing sports and games, studying nature and wildlife, talent shows and lots more! The camping experience lasts for 10 weeks.

There are two ways the community can help: 1) Purchase items (from the list below) and drop them off to us. You can do this as an individual, or you can organize a drive through your company, church or organization. 2) Donate online and we will purchase the items for the children. We are in need of the following for boys and girls from 5 to 16 years of age (all sizes):

Beach towels and wash cloths
Refillable water bottles
Swimsuits (one piece only)*
Caps and hats*
Athletic Shoes*
Backpacks
Beach bags
Water shoes and flip flops*
Insect repellent
Shorts*
Travel size toothpaste, toothbrushes
Travel size deodorant and soap
Travel size hand cleanser
Sheets, light sleeping bags, light blankets*
Pillows and pillow cases
Modest t-shirts*
Underwear*
Pajamas*
Socks*
Sunscreen (SPF 30)
Flashlights with new batteries
Floaties
Travel size packaged snacks

*We have the biggest need for children ages 10 – 12.

Drop Off Locations

Donations may be dropped off beginning May 29, Monday thru Friday 9 am to 4 pm at 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 231, Austin, 78758, or in Georgetown at 307 Shannon Lane.

Contact Us

Please contact Donna Clendennen at 512-634-5921 or infoaustin@uss.salvationarmy.org to organize a large drop-off or collection drive with your church, company or organization. The deadline for donations is June 11. Should you wish to donate by mail, please mark your check “camp supplies” and send it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1000, Austin, TX, 78767. For on-line giving: SalvationArmyAUSTIN.org

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide.