Salvation Army does more than ring bells

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Less than two months ago I reported The Salvation Army was in the midst of a $50,000 budget shortfall. If nothing was done, the organization would have to shutter its doors.

I wasn’t sure what exactly The Salvation Army did at that point, but it became my mission to make sure that didn’t happen. I’ve since written about 10 articles.

Every time I go out on assignment it’s a learning experience, and that was no different with The Salvation Army.

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I met some ladies who depended on The Salvation Army’s Mission 66 Diner for daily hot lunches, and I met a mother who was thankful The Salvation Army kept her eight children busy with camps, robotics, soccer and church. I met an Army general who got his first bike from The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, and I met the people behind The Salvation Army Thrift Store.

The Salvation Army hosts a back-to-school drive and keeps a food pantry stocked, but all of the services I’ve seen in the past two months were almost halted.

More than 6,700 people were served by the local Salvation Army last year. More than 50,000 meals were provided. Almost 150 people received rent assistance and more than 200 received assistance paying their utility bills.

When Captain Srikant Bhatnagar told me at the end of last week The Salvation Army would remain open, I felt relieved. In the middle of telling all of those stories, it didn’t really occur to me what almost happened.

The shuttering of doors wouldn’t really have impacted me much at first, but to the people served daily by The Salvation Army, it would have made a world of difference.

Thanks to private donors and organizations like Entergy and Church of the Holy Trinity, Episcopal, this vital resource will remain open.

It’s nice to feel like I had a mission accomplished, however small a role I may have played in the grand scheme of things.

When Holy Trinity was making the decision of where proceeds of their annual charity golf tournament would go, Rev. Beth Palmer said she remembered the articles about The Salvation Army and the financial challenges they were facing.

“We interpreted that as a sign from God to benefit The Salvation Army,” Palmer said.

Next time you see volunteers ringing bells for The Salvation Army, remember all the good they do, and remember all the good they almost weren’t able to do.