Salvation Army Texas http://www.salvationarmytexas.org The Official Site of The Salvation Army of Texas Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:47:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Coming Full Circle to Find a Future http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/coming-full-circle-find-future/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:28:41 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14423

Coming Full Circle to Find a Future

Although Alicia Fontenot was raised a Christian, it did not deter her from being a rebellious adolescent. She dropped out of high school, ran away from home, and wound up in Las Vegas. It was there that Alicia met the father of her two sons. In relationships, she says she found herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit.

Alicia FontenotAlicia was by definition a statistic: a single mother who wandered from home to home of family and friends with two young boys in tow. She was a high school dropout with no career or job, trying to survive on very little money. “I felt beaten and defeated,” Alicia said. “I felt I failed my children and failed as a mother.”

A veil of mistakes haunted Alicia, leaving her fearful of her own future, as well that of her growing boys. She knew she had to make a commitment to turn her life around and, taking a leap of faith, returned to San Antonio, the place she ran away from many years earlier.

Shortly after moving back home Alicia heard about The Salvation Army’s programs for single mothers, connected with our Social Services Department, and was introduced to her Scattered Sites Program case worker Bryan Shea.

Within a few months of joining the program, Alicia and her sons had a place to call home, in a safe neighborhood. Her children received the opportunity to attend a good school and daycare. Alicia earned her high-school diploma and now attends Northwest Vista College.

“Bryan and the program set me on the road to repairing my life by helping me set goals and obtain them,” Alicia said. “I learned important financial skills: how to budget and save. I have embarked on achievements I thought were once impossible.”

Alicia is also now happily employed at Chicago Bagel & Deli, a family-owned restaurant, which also provides her with new experiences in the culinary business. She has always had a passion for cooking and says her job gives her another grand opportunity to learn and grow. She hopes to someday own a restaurant herself.

As for her sons, they are healthy, vibrant, and are also grateful for The Salvation Army’s Scattered Sites program.

“This program has reminded me of my abilities and my strength,” she said. “I re-gained my confidence and continue to strive to be a good mother. My family is living proof that trials and tribulations can bring you down but only you can decide to be counted out. All we need is a little help to restore our faith in God, humanity, and ourselves. I pray The Salvation Army continues to save and change other families lives as it has done for me.”

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Cooking for the Community http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/cooking-for-the-community/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:55:08 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14413

Cooking for the Community

Rosa De La Mora was homeless and came to The Salvation Army to find shelter from a storm in McAllen, Texas in June 2005. “The shelter, dining hall and banquet hall were full of people because of severe weather,” Rosa said. She stayed for a few days and in that time found herself volunteering all around the building to stay busy.

Rosa De La Mora-CookingRosa checked into The Salvation Army shelter and continued to help out where needed, eventually becoming a regular volunteer in the kitchen. It wasn’t long until The Salvation Army posted a part-time cook position; Rosa applied, and was hired. She stayed at the shelter for three months and saved sufficient money so that she could move into an apartment with her two daughters.

After working in her part-time position for a year, Rosa became a full-time employee and later, with the help of Joe De Marino, a Salvation Army Advisory Board member, Rosa enrolled in a six-month culinary arts program at South Texas Community College. Upon completion of the culinary course she earned her certificate and eventually became head cook and supervisor of the Army’s kitchen in McAllen, a position she holds today.

“I have always given all I can through my work here at The Salvation Army. God gives me strength,” said Rosa, whose children have also become involved in Salvation Army church programs. “Volunteers and donations from the community have all been instrumental in making our feeding program possible and so successful.”

For the past 11 years, Rosa and her staff have prepared thousands of meals for the hungry and those experiencing homelessness in the community. In 2015 alone, The Salvation Army in McAllen served more than 75, 055 meals to shelter clients and individuals and families in the community. Additionally, Rosa has prepared meals for refugees and disaster victims, children enrolled in Salvation Army youth programs, and civic groups.

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From Chaos to Calm http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/from-chaos-to-calm/ Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:36:11 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14394

From Chaos to Calm

When Child Protective Services intervened in Hilary Hopkin’s dysfunctional home-life with her two young children and their father, it gave her a wakeup call. “Life before I came to The Salvation Army was chaotic. It was time to make a change, but I didn’t know how.”

Hilary had a number of options for rehab and a judge informed her of The Salvation Army ReConnect program in Tyler, a six-month, faith-based chemical addiction rehabilitation program for both men and women. “I knew that something was missing in my life, I just wasn’t sure what. But once I came here, I realized that I needed a relationship with God,” said Hilary. “I thought I had out-sinned grace. How could God possibly love me? But this program revealed God’s forgiveness and helped me to forgive myself while learning the steps to a stable life.”

Hilary Hopkins-From chaosWhen Hilary first came to The Salvation Army, she was counseled by two caseworkers, women of faith who consistently pointed Hilary to God and provided scripture to help her find peace. “Where I couldn’t change myself, God has changed me. He’s shown me that He does love me,” said Hilary. “God loves me so much in fact that He pulled me out of the mess I was living in and brought me to The Salvation Army. This is exactly what I needed.”

Hilary’s children remember the chaos. They remember their mom and dad fighting. They remember the dysfunction, even at 5 and 7 years old. But her children also have seen that their mom has changed.

Having completed The Salvation Army’s ReConnect program in May 2016 she is now working two jobs and trying to put into practice the lessons God taught her. In July 2016, she was awarded primary custody of her children and is looking forward to the next steps in her journey.

When Hilary first came to The Salvation Army, she was counseled by two caseworkers, women of faith who consistently pointed Hilary to God and provided scripture to help her find peace. “Where I couldn’t change myself, God has changed me. He’s shown me that He does love me,” said Hilary. “God loves me so much in fact that He pulled me out of the mess I was living in and brought me to The Salvation Army. This is exactly what I needed.”

Hilary’s children remember the chaos. They remember their mom and dad fighting. They remember the dysfunction, even at 5 and 7 years old. But her children also have seen that their mom has changed.

Having completed The Salvation Army’s ReConnect program in May 2016 she is now working two jobs and trying to put into practice the lessons God taught her. In July 2016, she was awarded primary custody of her children and is looking forward to the next steps in her journey.

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Hands Across Texas: YARC Manager Honored http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/yarc-manager-honored/ Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:24:06 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14379

Hands Across Texas: YARC Manager Honored

Rafael Sarango, manager of The Salvation Army’s Young Adult Resource Center (YARC) in Houston, was one of five recipients awarded the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (JKO) Award for Outstanding Service Benefiting Local Communities at the 2016 National Jefferson Awards Ceremony Gala in Washington, D.C. in June.

Young Adult Resource Center Manager HonoredBorn in Lima, Peru, Rafael has worked for The Salvation Army in Houston since 2010, first working in a youth-specific housing program. In 2012 he transitioned to the project that would later become YARC, a unique Salvation Army program that works directly with homeless young adults ages 18 to 25, connecting them to housing and other mainstream support. Additionally, the 40 or so young people who visit the YARC each day receive respite, a listening ear, emergency meals, job coaching, recovery coaching, and non-traditional educational support, tutoring and re-engagement.

“The only difference between me and our clients is that I had someone who was there for me, someone who gave me a hand. They do not have that,” said Rafael. “My goal is to have a larger space, a separate space where we can offer even more services. My motivation and what keeps me pushing forward is knowing that these young adults are finding the hope they need at The Salvation Army YARC that will help change their lives.”

Robert Provost, Jefferson Awards Board Director, said as he presented  Rafael the award,  “We are going to tell their story to literally millions of people, in the hopes that their service will inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

Telemundo Houston selected Rafael as a local recipient of the Jefferson Awards before he moved on to represent Houston at the national level. The Jefferson Awards Foundation Media Partners program is made up of about 60 local news outlets who invite their viewers to nominate unsung heroes in their communities.

The Salvation Army’s Young Adult Resource Center is located at 2403 Caroline St., Houston, and is open Monday-Thursday, from 11 am-3 pm. To learn more about YARC, please call 713-658-9205 or visit SalvationArmyHouston.org.

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Pure Imagination http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/pure-imagination/ Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:43:18 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14102 For many people the arrival of summer brings back fond childhood memories of times spent at summer camp. Since the 1930s The Salvation Army in Texas has provided camp experiences for young people with more than 2,000 children expected to arrive at Camp Hoblitzelle in the coming weeks for a potentially life-changing week.

“Pure Imagination” is the theme for this summer with plans to excite young people through God’s word and the many outdoor opportunities available at Camp Hoblitzelle. Children from both the inner city and rural settings will have the chance to make new friends and go horseback riding, canoeing, swim, participate in arts and crafts, and climb the high ropes course. They’ll also enjoy three square meals a day, which isn’t always the case at home.

The summer schedule includes camp specifically for Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club members, Girl Power, Teen camp, and Music & Arts Conservatory. We are also excited about our second year of Camp Hoblitzelle Day Camp focused on delivering quality activities for school-age children from the local community.

The Salvation Army enjoys a fine tradition of music making and summer 2016 will include the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Music & Arts Conservatory, a six-week camp experience. Special guests and campers from previous years will come together for a homecoming weekend filled with music and memories.

God has wonderful things in store at Camp Hoblitzelle. Thank you for your support of The Salvation Army and making a difference in the lives of so many children and families this summer and all year round.

 

 

 

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Summer Camp Makes Lifelong Impact http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/summer-camp-makes-lifelong-impact/ Fri, 10 Jun 2016 15:51:09 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14108 Growing up in a poor, dangerous neighborhood, Anita and her brothers were not allowed to play outside because it wasn’t safe. Their mother worked hard — supporting the family and caring for their ill father.

“I remember my father being sick all the time…we spent a lot of our childhood in hospitals,” said Anita. When the boys started having trouble in school, a social worker suggested The Salvation Army camp to Anita’s mom — a great benefit for the kids at no cost.

Going to summer camp opened up a whole new world for 8-year-old Anita and her brothers. At camp they were able to run outside and experience nature for the first time. They learned to swim and fish, and Anita’s favorite activity was arts and crafts.

Anita now owns her own business in Austin, and credits her time at camp for setting her on a path to success. Years ago she received a Salvation Army appeal in the mail, and has faithfully donated since. She said, “With the hope and joy that I still carry warmly in my heart for The Salvation Army, I decided 13 years ago to pay it forward. I donate to help send other children to camp so they can experience new adventures, grow and have a little joy just as I did.

“I’m grateful for what The Salvation Army did for my family. It made me the strong person I am today.”

 

 

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Partners Provide Support to Salvation Army Response http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/partners-provide-support-salvation-army-response/ Thu, 09 Jun 2016 17:08:02 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14261 Dallas, TX (June 8, 2016) – The Salvation Army in Texas continues to provide widespread response following flooding in and around the state, particularly in Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties.

Eight Salvation Army disaster teams operating mobile kitchens are working around the clock to deliver much needed meals, drinks, cleaning supplies, and encouragement to those affected by flooding. Trained disaster crews have traveled from as far as Plainview, San Angelo, and Austin, to provide support to the work being done by local Salvation Army teams from the Houston area.

“We continue to see conditions improving in most areas of the state but there are still areas of concern along the Brazos River,” said Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director, for The Salvation Army in Texas. “We are monitoring the situation and responding in communities that are just now seeing the water starting to recede.”

Several national and local partners have come forward to provide much needed support to the ongoing response effort. Target has generously donated $100,000 in Target GiftCards to be distributed by The Salvation Army in the hardest hit areas, while Walmart has provided supplies and food in various cities. AmeriCares, an emergency response and global health organization, have donated four truckloads of bottled water, given by Nestlé Waters North America, and comfort kits that have arrived in Southeast Texas for families in need. Mercy Chefs, a Virginia based non-profit, disaster relief organization has deployed their team of professional chefs to feed survivors and first responders. Additionally, local partnerships from companies including H-E-B, Chick-fil-A, and Boys & Girls Club, have provided meals and much needed volunteers.

Brazoria County

The Salvation Army of Freeport is coordinating response efforts with three mobile kitchens, a field kitchen operated by Mercy Chefs, and one Rapid Response Unit (RRU) to provide feeding and hydration to first responders and residents. Distribution of clean-up kits, food boxes and hygiene kits is ongoing and 10 tents were provided for DPS check points.

The Salvation Army is serving meals at the following locations:

  • Angleton ISD Shelter 1800 Downing Angleton
  • Angleton High School 1 Campus Drive
  • Angleton Fire Station, Angleton EOC 111 East Magnolia Street
  • Roaming S of 35 to CR332
  • Brazoria Fairgrounds
  • Roaming 521
  • Red Cross & TSA Shelter CR 332, CR409 and 35

 

The Salvation Army is also providing roving services in the housing subdivisions of Holiday Lakes, W. Columbia and Angleton.

Fort Bend County

The Salvation Army Houston Area Command is operating three mobile feeding units and a RRU and is currently serving in the following locations:

  • 110 Hwy 90ALT, Richmond
  • 1600 Ave D, Rosenberg
  • Rivers Edge
  • Roving various neighborhoods in Richmond and Rosenberg
Montgomery County

The Salvation Army Pasadena Corps continues to respond with food, hydration, emotional and spiritual care as well as distribution of cleaning supplies, hygiene products and household food boxes to those in the Kingwood area.

Hidalgo County

At the request of the City of Mission, The Salvation Army in McAllen has been feeding first responders and residents in neighborhoods damaged by recent storms. This proved to be a community effort as the local H-E-B donated food, snacks and drinks, and even delivered ready-made lunch bags, while volunteers from the Boys & Girls Club helped prepare food in the Corps kitchen and served on the mobile kitchen along with Salvation Army staff and volunteers.

All Salvation Army units across the division have been briefed of the current situation and have been placed on increased readiness.

Total assistance provided since May 28:

Meals                13,805               Clean-up Kits                309

Drinks              12,562               Comfort Kits                303

Snacks              11,408               Tarps                            14

Donations to support the ongoing Salvation Army response efforts can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or online at http://tsatx.org/TX_Floods

About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services

“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” While every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs, the core of The Salvation Army’s disaster program consists of several basic services. And while these services address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor, Salvation Army disaster relief is also flexible. Our services are adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and scalable according to the magnitude of the disaster.

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Multiple County Response Ongoing http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/multiple-county-response-ongoing/ Wed, 01 Jun 2016 19:49:06 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14254 Dallas, Texas (June 1, 2016) –  The Salvation Army Texas Division continues to support widespread response efforts across Texas due to the recent severe weather providing food and hydration services to first responders and residents as well as distribution of cleaning supplies.

Salvation Army staff is involved in the State Operations Center and in several local Emergency Operations Centers. Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Texas said, “Coordinating a large scale response of this kind is very challenging particularly as many roads are closed due to rising water. Entire towns are being asked to evacuate but many people do not want to leave their homes. The Salvation Army is committed to helping those affected in what could be a long-term response effort, involving multiple units over a large area.”

After sustained heavy rain that began before the Memorial Day weekend several counties in the state, particularly between Austin and Houston, are facing widespread flooding and the threat of rivers cresting near or above record levels.

Brazoria County

The Salvation Army of Freeport, in preparation for the forecasted flooding, has a team on stand-by to provide food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care. Several cities including Wharton, Rosenberg and Simonton are under mandatory evacuation orders.

In partnership with Mercy Chefs and county emergency management, The Salvation Army has deployed a kitchen to the city of Angleton to support feeding operations in Brazoria County.

300 food boxes, 6 pallets of water and approximately 400 clean up kits have been staged at our facility in Freeport to support response efforts.

Staging of additional staff and other resources is being considered based on forecast.

Brazos County

The Salvation Army of Bryan/College Station has representation at the City of Bryan EOC and continues to provide food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and residents affected by the current severe weather.

Chick-fil-A in Bryan has donated lunch sandwiches in support of the relief efforts and Walmart provided a van load of snacks, drinks, water and tarps.

Fort Bend County

The Salvation Army Houston Area Command is establishing an Incident Command Team at Houston International Corps to respond in Fort Bend County by providing food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care.

Stephens County

The Salvation Army delivered water, at the request of DDC Abilene, to the City of Breckenridge due to their water plant not functioning.

Travis County

The Salvation Army Austin Area Command – the Williamson County volunteer disaster team provided food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and residents in the affected areas of southeast Travis County.

Washington County

Cots, blankets, water and hygiene products have been delivered to the town of Brenham in support of shelter operations.

Brown County

The Salvation Army of Brownwood is prepared to provide food, hydration and emergency shelter in partnership with local emergency management, CERT, American Red Cross and the County Health Department.

All Salvation Army units across the division have been briefed on the current situation and are on stand-by.

Donations to support the ongoing Salvation Army response efforts can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or online at http://tsatx.org/TX_Floods

About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services

“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” While every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs, the core of The Salvation Army’s disaster program consists of several basic services. And while these services address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor, Salvation Army disaster relief is also flexible. Our services are adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and scalable according to the magnitude of the disaster.

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Salvation Army Responds to Memorial Weekend Storms http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/memorial-weekend-storms/ Tue, 31 May 2016 13:29:26 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14236 Dallas, Texas (May 29, 2016) – Intense storms have resulted in damaging tornadoes, heavy rain and yet more flooding affecting numerous communities in Texas over the Memorial weekend. The Salvation Army has mobilized disaster teams to provide relief, basic necessities, and emotional and spiritual care to affected communities.

As of Sunday morning, May 29, 17 counties and multiple cities in Texas were experiencing moderate to major flooding. The Texas Division is currently supporting response operations in Bryan, Conroe and Brenham, and Salvation Army staff is manning the State Operations Center which is at Level 3 – Increased Readiness Conditions. As flood waters rise in the coming 24-48 hours it is expected that additional support and response will be required in the Houston area, in Freeport where 700-800 homes are estimated to be affected, and in several Service Extension Unit areas.

Disaster volunteer Dwayne Walters is the coordinator of The Salvation Army Bryan College Station disaster response team. Dwayne and his wife, Diane, have already been deployed for several weeks since January this year, serving tirelessly during disaster events in Dallas, East Texas, Austin, and El Paso. On Thursday afternoon the Walters’ home town of Bryan was hit by a tornado and around 30 houses were affected along with significant flooding in the city. “By Thursday evening we deployed the Rapid Response Unit and were providing roving assistance in the impacted areas,” said Dwayne. “Our team consists of Advisory Board members, volunteers, and young people from the Corps and it is a privilege to be serving people from our own community. We will be out here as long as these folks need our help.”

In addition to Bryan College Station, the Texas Division is supporting current response efforts in Montgomery and Washington County, providing food, hydration, cleaning supplies, and spiritual care to first responders and residents.

The Salvation Army has been called upon to respond to an unusually high number of disaster events in Texas over the last 12 months, providing more than:

  • 91,000 Prepared meals
  • 140,500 Drinks
  • 84,00 Snacks
  • 5,000 Individuals assisted
  • 8,850 Clean up kits
  • 12,500 Comfort kits
  • 3,200 Food boxes
  • 13,500 Cases of water

The Emergency Disaster Services team in the Texas Division will be carefully watching the weather in the coming days and several additional units are on stand-by and are prepared to respond if necessary.

About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services

“The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” While every disaster is unique and creates its own special needs, the core of The Salvation Army’s disaster program consists of several basic services. And while these services address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor, Salvation Army disaster relief is also flexible. Our services are adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and scalable according to the magnitude of the disaster.

 

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Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Making a Difference http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/blog/making-a-difference/ Tue, 10 May 2016 16:08:37 +0000 http://www.salvationarmytexas.org/?p=14127 More than 1,300 children will enroll in day camp programs at 18 Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club locations in Texas this summer. Clubs provide a safe, supportive environment and a summer of opportunities for each child to grow educationally, spiritually and physically.

While every Boys & Girls Club site and program is unique, all provide daily schedules full of fun and exciting activities for children from 5-17. Programs include arts and crafts, outdoor and indoor recreation, music lessons, performing arts, and sports. Educational opportunities are also included to help prevent summer learning loss.

The EverFi digital learning system sponsored by Target is new at many locations for summer 2016. The system not only provides academic support but also focuses on critical life skills, engaging young people in dynamic and interactive courses such as internet safety, financial literacy, careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and much more.

As with all Salvation Army programs the spiritual component is an important part of the summer day camp curriculum. Club members receive daily spiritual input and a week-long Vacation Bible School.

Many of the young people who attend Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs are from low or medium income families who may not be able to afford to visit places like the zoo or local water parks. Groups have weekly field trips to special events and locations including amusement parks, museums, sporting events, fire departments, and trampoline parks.

“One particularly rewarding aspect of the summer program is when former club members return as Junior Staff members,” said Alesia Lane, Director of Operations for The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs in Texas.

“It is great to see some of our older teens return and show the desire to give back to the program and community by motivating and mentoring the elementary and middle school students. That’s what Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs are all about — creating productive citizens who want to make a positive contribution to their community.”

 

 

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