An Eight Year Old’s Special Touch of Love for Others

Samantha Parrish an energetic local 8 year old Girl Scout is a girl with a mission, to provide 2,500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the Harrisonburg Salvation Army. The cookies will be used as an extra treat to those staying at our homeless shelter, The Community Center of Hope, and to low-income families through our food pantry program.

Through her “Go Fund Me” page Samantha is inviting people to buy a box or two of cookies.

To read more about this young lady’s story and goal, go to https://www.gofundme.com/SamGivesBack

The Harrisonburg Salvation Army is grateful for this 8 year old’s desire to help others and for her special way of doing so.

The Story Behind the Berry Food Drive

The annual Brent and Bucky Berry Food Drive is underway with all proceeds being given to the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Salvation Army’s food pantry. The food collected through the drive will feed thousands of hungry people over the coming four to five months.

To say that Bucky and his son Brent have a passion for collecting food for the food pantry is an understatement. Once one food drive is over this father and son team starts planning for the next. They continually look for opportunities to organize drives. “We are thankful to God for the work of the Berry family. The Berry family’s deep passion for feeding people is not only blessing others but is an example of a person who once received help giving back to the community,” says Major Hank Harwell, the Corps Officer of the Harrisonburg Salvation Army.

When he was a child, Bucky Berry’s parents often found their cupboards empty of food. In those times they turned to The Salvation Army for assistance. With the food they received they were able to keep their son and themselves from going hungry. At Christmas many of Bucky’s Christmas gifts were from the community through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. As per their custom his parents often said thank you for the freely given food and toys.

Years later, remembering the kindness and assistance given to his family, Bucky expressed again and again his gratitude. He has gone beyond expressing his gratitude to his family becoming engaged with The Salvation Army as eager supporters and volunteers. For thirty years Bucky has rung the bells each November and December. For the last eight years he and Brent have been collecting food to help local families receive the same kindness and assistance Bucky’s family received.

His Impact Lasts Well Beyond His Life

On December 8th, 1986 Broadway-Timberville Ruritan Richard Funkhouser hung a red kettle and rang the first bell for The Salvation Army at Whitmore’s Grocery Store in downtown Broadway. According to the records he collected $4.86.

Richard persevered. He marshaled the Broadway-Timberville Ruritans to adopt and organize the kettle each holiday season in the Broadway-Timberville area. That tradition continues today with the Ruritans organizing and coordinating the kettle each November and December at the Timberville Food Lion.

Over the years Richard remained committed and deeply involved until declining health called for him to pass the standard he proudly held high all those years to others in the Broadway-Timberville Ruritan Club. Though Richard passed away in August 2014, his legacy and work continues to have lasting impact.

Over the last 29 years, “Richard’s belling ringing total” has grown well beyond $4.86. During the 2014 holiday season alone, the Broadway-Timberville kettle raised $8,992. Coming into the 2015 holiday season, to date Richard’s kettle has raised $197,907.33.

The impact of Richard hanging that December day in 1986 continues to grow each July and holiday season. Thanks to the generosity of Broadway-Timberville community, the legacy of one man with a big heart continues to make a difference each year in the lives of hundreds of needy families.

Diving For Christmas Toys Brings Help to a Family

A few weeks before Christmas, a City of Harrisonburg police officer found two boys going through items left outside The Salvation Army’s Family Store on East Washington Street. In talking with the boys, the officer learned that as their families were poor they feared that they would not receive any gifts on Christmas Day. The distraught boys were searching for toys and other items for themselves and for their siblings for Christmas.

When The Salvation Army learned of the situation, the police officer was informed that The Salvation Army would be pleased to help the families with gifts for their children along with food for their Christmas meal. As the names of the families and contact information were confidential and could not be provided to The Salvation Army, the police officer kindly agreed to communicate to both families the offer of assistance and The Salvation Army’s telephone number. Though the Christmas application period concluded months before, The Salvation Army wanted to help the two families with their needs.

With the officer’s encouragement, one of the families called for assistance. As for the other family, possibly unknown to their son, the family was already registered to receive assistance. The Salvation Army was pleased to meet with the parents of the family that called, complete an application, and then have the parents come to the Rockingham County Fairgrounds on distribution day to receive gifts for their children and food for their Christmas table.

Annually on behalf of a generous community, The Salvation Army is pleased to assist 700 to 850 Harrisonburg/Rockingham low-income families to have a joyous Christmas.

“Thank you! You’ve Made Our Christmas.”

Tears appeared in Roger’s cheeks as a bike, two bags of toys and a box of food with a turkey were placed into Roger and Ellen’s trunk. With a trebling voice Roger explained to the two volunteers that two Christmases before he and his wife never thought they would need help from The Salvation Army. Roger mentioned that back then he managed a business on the edge of the county until it was sold it to a competitor, who shortly merged it with his own and dismissed most of the office and sales staff. Unable to find a new full-time job Roger took several low waged part-time jobs to keep food on the table. As the family’s income was not sufficient to keep up with their mortgage and car payments, their home and car was soon lost, as their debts grew.

Roger and Ellen turned to The Salvation Army for help. “My family has helped as much as they can with rent. I came here because I don’t want to go through another Christmas without gifts for my son and daughter,” he said quietly. “It’s been a tough sixteen months. Things are now looking up as I just got a good job, but we still can’t afford much for Christmas. Thank you! You’ve made our Christmas.”

Ellen too tried to express her gratitude to the volunteers. While all she could manage was a simple “thank you” her tears and stumbling thin voice spoke of the depth and meaning of those two simple words.

As they drove off one beaming volunteer turned to the other, “They made my Christmas. Helping families like them is what Christmas is about.”

Each year the Harrisonburg Salvation Army assists between 925 and 970 local families with toys of their children and food for their Christmas meal. Majors Hank and Eunice Harwell would like to thank this generous community for their support, for helping The Salvation Army to assist so many people this Christmas day.

A Father-Son Kettle Competition

This coming Black Friday, November 27 2015, a father and son are competing at Burgess Road Walmart to see which of them can raise the most in their kettle that day. The father and son are both taking a door for the whole day, starting at the same time and finishing at the same time with occasional relief from family and friends.

Brent Berry issued a challenge to his father Bucky. Not one to back away from a challenge from his son Bucky accepted the challenge. Ahead of Black Friday the father and son have been talking about the challenge to all their friends and associates encouraging them to come past the Burgess Road Walmart on Black Friday and support the kettle of their choice.

All funds raised in the kettles will be used to support over the coming months the Harrisonburg Salvation Army’s 62-bed homeless shelter and its food pantry program that provides groceries to 270 to 310 hungry families each month.

Who will win? Results to be announced on our web page on December 4th.

His Impact Lasts Beyond His Life

On December 8th, 1986 Broadway-Timberville Ruritan Richard Funkhouser hung a red kettle and rang the first bell for The Salvation Army at Whitmore’s Grocery Store in downtown Broadway. According to the records he collected $4.86.

Richard persevered. He marshaled the Broadway-Timberville Ruritans to adopt and organize the kettle each holiday season in the Broadway-Timberville area. That tradition continues today with the Ruritans organizing and coordinating the kettle each November and December at the Timberville Food Lion.

Over the years Richard remained committed and deeply involved until declining health called for him to pass the standard he proudly held high all those years to others in the Broadway-Timberville Ruritan Club. Though Richard passed away in August 2014, his legacy and work continues to have lasting impact.

Over the last 29 years, “Richard’s belling ringing total” has grown well beyond $4.86. During the 2014 holiday season alone, the Broadway-Timberville kettle raised $8,992. Coming into the 2015 holiday season, to date Richard’s kettle has raised $197,907.33.

The impact of Richard hanging that December day in 1986 continues to grow each July and holiday season. Thanks to the generosity of Broadway-Timberville community, the legacy of one man with a big heart continues to make a difference each year in the lives of hundreds of needy families.

James Madison University Students Stepping Up to Fight Hunger

The students of James Madison University and the Brent Berry Food Drive are partnering together to fight hunder in Harrisonburg. JMU students are collecting food for the Harrisonburg Salvation Army’s food pantry. Non-perishable food is being collected at Zane Showker Hall through to Thursday November 19th, 2915.

Food items being collected include macaroni & cheese, spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, canned beef, pork and tuna, canned vegetables, evaporated milk, fruit juices, powered milk, canned fruit, jelly and jam, cereals and oatmeal.

Various household nonfood items are also welcome, including toilet paper, laundry and dish detergent, diapers, toothpaste and feminine hygiene items.

“The Salvation Army is excited to have the Brent Berry Food Drive and the JMU students to partner together to feed the hungry in our own community. It is wonderful to see our college students being sensitive to the needs of others,” says Major Hank Harwell of The Salvation Army. “In The Salvation Army in Virginia and even beyond, the generosity of the students and how they assist us to help others is becoming well known.”

Because of the gracious support of JMU students, faculty and staff, as well as from families across the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County community. Last year The Salvation Army provides 3,976 food baskets to local families, that averaged out to be one food basket being provided to a local hungry family every 2.2 hours throughout the year.

The students of JMU, the Brent Berry Food Drive are impacting hunger in their community.

Volunteer Bell Ringers Give Four and Half Thousand Hours Each Year

With a kettle goal of $170,000 the Harrisonburg Salvation Army’s 2015 red kettle effort is well underway. The Harrisonburg Corps’ kettle program is one of the few programs of its size in the nation that is fully staffed by volunteers. While most programs across the nation have a good per cent of their hours filled by volunteers few programs with over have every hour over a seven week period filled by volunteers as does the local unit.

At the peak of the season The Salvation Army in Harrisonburg needs to have 794 volunteer hours covered each week over 16 locations. Between the Thursday of the first full week November and December Eve, 4,600 hours of volunteering are typically given by people from the community.

“Having 4,600 kettle hours graciously provided by volunteers in a community of this size is amazing. It speaks volumes about our community, its nature and quality. This community has a deep love and concern for their neighbors, particularly those who are going through great difficulties. We cannot do what we do without a successful kettle season and our bell ringers,” observes Major Hank Harwell the Corps Officer of the Harrisonburg Salvation Army.

Those who volunteer span the spectrum of the community, from younger children standing at the kettle with their parents, to high school and college students, to senior citizens. “It warms my heart to see who is volunteering. We are grateful to each person, to each family, sports team, club, church and business who staffs our kettle,” says Major Harwell. “Each doing what they can combines to bring forth wonderful results. We are indebted to our volunteers for all that they are doing.”

Volunteers, both individuals and groups, willing to help are needed throughout the season. Currently The Salvation Army still has to fill over 1,850 hours over the remainder of the 2015 kettle season. Volunteers can volunteer by calling Dave or Dale at 434-4854, or by going to redkettlevolunteer.org.

Impact of Volunteering

Volunteers greatly extend the work of The Salvation Army, providing it with enhanced human and fiscal resources. In every area of service, selfless and dedicated men, women and young people are freely giving their time and talents to help others. Volunteers provide invaluable assistance in the office, with the food pantry, cooking and serving meals at the shelter, staffing kettles, organizing and running the Christmas distribution, aiding character building activities, providing music lessons for at-risk youth, responding to disasters, and much more. Volunteers enable The Salvation Army to serve far more people with a greater array of services than would be possible with its small staff.

In 2014, volunteers provided 12,661 hours of volunteer service. That number of hours equals more than 6 full-time positions and all those hours greatly extend the resources of The Salvation Army to assist more people than our current staff could assist on their own.

Why volunteer?
• Volunteers can provide direct service to clients.
• Volunteers show clients that someone outside the paid staff cares for them.
• Volunteers may have added credibility because they are unsalaried.
• Volunteers can focus on one task for a specified period of time or project.
• Volunteers extend the human resources of The Salvation Army enabling it to serve more people.
• Volunteers increase The Salvation Army’s access to the community.
• Volunteers promote a better understanding of Salvation Army service.
• Volunteers support special services and fundraisers by attending and bringing others.
• Volunteers supplement essential services with experience, knowledge and skills.
• Volunteers spark innovation. Historically, volunteers are pioneers in creating new services.
• Volunteers find service to others in a faith-based context to be an expression of their own faith.
• Volunteers can be legislative advocates, fundraisers, and public education agents.
• Volunteers can offer constructive criticism and give feedback for future planning.

If you would like more information or to volunteer, please contact Matt Vandenberg at 434-4854 or email him at Matthew_VanDenberg@uss.salvationarmy.org.