Mother Thankful for Christmas Gifts

A grateful mother recently called The Salvation Army to say thanks:

“I have to call and thank you this morning. I am so happy. I’m going through the bag of Angel Tree gifts, and I am just so excited. Thank y’all so much.

“Normally I’d be able to afford to buy these things myself for my baby but I fell on hard times. I’m just happy to be able to pay my bills in full — so I wasn’t really focused on Christmas.

“I do the best I can throughout the year and decided not to focus on just one day or fret about it. I can’t say thank you enough.

“When I picked up my Angel Tree gifts, I saw the bikes and things that people were receiving — so many kids are going to be blessed. I’m grateful because I’m a proud woman and I’m normally pretty self-sufficient.

“I haven’t needed to go on the Angel Tree list in years — this is just my second time. I’m appreciative, my baby is going to be happy, and I don’t feel inadequate. I hope that makes sense.

“This is an awesome program. I need to figure out (when I’m back on my feet) how I can help and pay it forward. Thank you to everybody involved!

“God bless you.”

 

 

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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 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad 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 The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Volunteer Cherishes Angel Tree Program

For years, Jennifer Cotton has volunteered with The Salvation Army of Bryan/College Station in many capacities, but Angel Tree has a special place in her heart.

“Volunteering for Angel Tree is one of my favorite activities,” said Cotton. “My favorite part is assuring each child has gifts to open on Christmas and filling in gifts for those who did not get as many as others. I try to make it as fair as I can so each child can have the best Christmas possible.”

The Angel Tree program can be a learning experience for volunteers and puts into perspective what some families go through during the Christmas season. The average family signs up for two or three children, but The Salvation Army has collected presents for families of eight or more. “Sometimes, families are looking after relatives’ children as well as their own,” Cotton said.

“Each family’s story is unique. You learn you can’t be judgmental — you don’t know the back stories of the applicants.” This year, The Salvation Army delivered Christmas gifts to 2,563 children representing 1,041 families in Brazos County.

“It’s heartwarming to know you are making a child’s Christmas and giving them hope,” said Cotton. “It’s really great to see such a generous outpouring from our community toward bettering the lives of children. This community cares about setting children up for success.”

Volunteers are crucial to the success of many year-round Salvation Army programs, not just at Christmas. As for Cotton, she plans to continue volunteering for many years to come. Currently serving as secretary for The Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary, she also serves on the Emergency Disaster Services team and is a committed volunteer for the Clothing Closet.

 

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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 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad 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 The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Family’s Journey Leads to New Home in Time for Christmas

Joseph Davis, a single father who home-schools his three children,  entered the Emergency Shelter program at The Salvation Army in Lubbock after months of financial struggles. Due to the pandemic, he was behind on rent and utility bills.

Through the Tokens of Hope Rapid Rehousing program, Joseph quickly began working on clearing up past eviction costs and working to secure new affordable housing.

“We were able to secure affordable subsidized housing that was income-based, making the likelihood of long-term success much greater,” said Erica Hitt, Social Services Director for The Salvation Army in Lubbock.

“This precious family has touched our hearts in so many ways. Watching them love and lift one another up, even during crisis and uncertainty, has been encouraging and uplifting to us all.”

A few days before Christmas, the Hope On The Go team surprised Joseph and his kids at their new home by bringing a Christmas tree with decorations and gifts, hygiene and household items, and all the fixings for a delicious Christmas dinner including a turkey and a ham. Last, but not least, they also provided additional rental assistance for January.

Thanks goes to donors like you who make it possible for The Salvation Army to help families like Joseph’s and guide them toward success and self-sufficiency.

 

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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 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad 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 The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

1st Responders Bell Ringing Challenge Helps Tyler’s Needy

Ask any bell ringer why they’re out supporting The Salvation Army and they’ll likely have a good reason or story. For some, it’s a seasonal job to get through the holidays, but for many, there is a heartfelt answer to the question, “Why ring?”

In Tyler, Bell Ringers may tell you they have their eye on a certain prize, adding their name as winners of the First Responders Bell Ringing Challenge. The iconic Red Kettle Campaign, now in its 131st year, remains The Salvation Army’s most important fundraiser. In Tyler, an inspiring group of volunteers took up the challenge and created a friendly annual bell-ringing competition, all to help make a difference in their community.

Holy cow! Even the bovines took part in the Tyler Bell-Ringing Challenge!

The First Responders Bell Ringing Challenge began in 2020, sponsored by local Advisory Board Member Jeff Johnston, who also operates the Chick-fil-A on South Broadway Street. Participating groups include Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Tyler Fire Department, Tyler Police Department, and UT Health East Texas EMS/Air 1.

Each group is assigned a day to ring the bell at Chick-fil-a for 12 hours. The winning group not only wins bragging rights for an entire year, but their name is engraved on a traveling trophy created for the event.

While this tradition is a new one, all parties are committed to continue indefinitely. “The trophy includes 32 engravable plates so we’re looking forward to at least another 30 years of competition!” Johnston said. UT Health East Texas EMS/Air 1 won the inaugural challenge in 2020, and special congratulations go to the 2021 winner, Tyler Police Department, who raised $1,693.51!

More than $10,000 has been raised through the challenge in the last two years. The Salvation Army is extremely grateful, and all funds raised directly support local services and programs.

“Thank you to the dedicated first responders for their service, and for their commitment to help make change happen – one coin at a time,” Johnston said. “Your help in this goes a long way to help others who need it in Tyler.”

 

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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 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad 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 The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

NFL Player Gives Back With “My Cause My Cleats” Campaign

Second year Denver Broncos defensive lineman McTelvin Agim is quick to Remember and recognize The Salvation Army for being there at a time when his family was struggling.

“When I was a kid, we had a rough time, a rough patch growing up,” Agim says. The family had no place to live and for about a year, they found refuge at The Salvation Army shelter in Texarkana. The experience was a formative one, shaping Agim’s outlook on life and his dedication to helping others in need.

The support and example of Salvation Army staff made a significant impact on young McTelvin. “They understand you,” Agim says. “The counselors at The Salvation Army were trying to make sure we knew we didn’t have to worry about anything.” Special effort was made to make the family’s living space as homey as possible, and trips to the park and basketball court made for a fun and positive environment.

“The Salvation Army gave us sanctuary,” Agim says, “a place to lay our heads. I wouldn’t be here without them. I can’t ever repay them for that time, for how important that was for us. But to be able to do something and give back to them is something I try to do all the time.”

During the NFL’s annual My Cause My Cleats campaign, Agim showed his support by putting The Salvation Army shield on a pair of custom-designed and autographed cleats. Proceeds from the auction of the cleats will benefit The Salvation Army.

His surroundings and circumstances have changed since being drafted by the Broncos in 2020, but he hasn’t lost sight of his past: “I don’t think you ever forget where you come from. You don’t ever forget the struggles, the trials; any of that.”

Agim also adopted a family for the holidays through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Beyond the material gifts, Agim is also able to provide something even more important: Hope.

“We are so grateful for the generous support of McTelvin Agim,” said Captain Juan Gomez of The Salvation Army in Texarkana. “Every day, men, women and children, just like the Agim family, come through our doors without us knowing who they are or who they’re going to become. What’s important is that we show them God’s love and care, right where they are.”

 

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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 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad 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 The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.