For many of us, it’s those red kettles coming out at Christmas time and a cadre of friendly bell ringers that remind us of The Salvation Army.
But their work is year long and focused on those living in poverty who need help.
This week celebrates National Salvation Army Week. They are one of the nation’s largest and oldest faith-based health and human service providers helping more than 25 million Americans every year.
In 1954, the U.S. Congress approved a joint resolution for President Dwight D. Eisenhower to proclaim a week to recognize the humanitarian efforts of The Salvation Army.
Culpeper is fortunate to now have onsite officers who are already becoming familiar faces and reaching out on a daily basis to let folks know they are here and a resource if you need help.
Lt. Jared Martin and his wife Rachel can be found most days at their new Center for Worship and Service located at 133 E. Culpeper Street. Sunday services are at 11 a.m. You’ll see the signs and the bright red doors.
“We use a lot of military jargon in The Salvation Army. Our term for opening a new social service office and church is to ‘open fire’. This year The Salvation Army is ‘opening fire’ on poverty, hopelessness, and sin in Culpeper!,” says Martin who is a third generation Salvation Army officer.
As directors of the Salvation Army in Culpeper and Warrenton, the Martins are busy between the two locations helping people with several different services including utilities assistance, food and commodities pantry, Angel Tree, summer camp, and emergency disaster services. Last year, 1,745 local people received support, thanks to generous donors, volunteers, and corporate partners.
Both locations have a food pantry and both pantries are running low.
“Donate canned goods so that we are always able to say “yes” when someone struggling with hunger asks for food,” said Martin.
Camp Happyland located in Richardsville is a Salvation Army run camp. Spreading out on more than 200 acres, it provides an opportunity for children to attend that may not have the means to otherwise.
“We are getting ready to send about 50 children to summer camp,” said Martin but some of these children are still waiting for a local angel to provide their camp scholarship of $250 for a free week at camp.
On Mother’s Day, a seven-week series on improving your marriage started at the Culpeper location.
“Our worship services are an integral part of our mission, “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination,” said Martin noting a new program that Martin is pleased to be able to offer in Culpeper.
“Pathway of Hope takes place here, which is an initiative which helps families with minor children to break the chain of intergenerational poverty so they move from crisis to stability,” said Martin. “The next program we will start here is character building, a program for children which will help them learn practical skills and biblical foundations.”
How can you help
One of the best ways to help on a local level and participating in the Salvation Army’s mission is to donate, shop and volunteer at their store located on James Madison Highway. Have a large item you’d like to donate? Their truck is able to provide pick up for furniture donations. Schedule pick ups at the store number, 540-321-4859. There are also volunteer opportunities for serving on a disaster relief team, ringing bells at a red kettle, or organizing gifts for angel tree. Call Melissa Dargis for those opportunities 540-349-8076. People may receive their services by calling the Center at 540-317-5873. Donors are able to help with scholarships for campers or fund their utilities assistance by giving online at www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Every dollar makes a difference. All donations stay local and $.82 cents of every dollar go to direct services.
“We encourage people during National Salvation Army Week to learn a little to help a lot in our local community,” says Martin.
For more information about National Salvation Army Week, please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.