Wintry weather brings Christmas spirit during Red Kettle Campaign launch

Wintry weather brings Christmas spirit during Red Kettle Campaign launch

Snowy weather on Thursday closed schools and government offices, but it didn’t stop the local Salvation Army from holding its annual Red Kettle Campaign kickoff at Apple Blossom Mall.

About 20 people attended the event — a smaller crowd than usual — which Salvation Army Capt. Kelly Durant attributed to the weather.

Berryville Mayor Patricia Dickinson, who was slated to be the keynote speaker, was unable to attend due to the hazardous road conditions. Still, Durant was able to find a silver lining in the season’s first snowfall.

“It kind of makes it more exciting,” Durant said. “It gets the early Christmas spirit going. It’s a winter wonderland already.”

The Red Kettle fundraising campaign runs until Dec. 24. It involves volunteers ringing a bell and soliciting donations at numerous locations around the community from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday (no Sundays). Shifts tend to last four to eight hours.

This year, Red Kettles and bell ringers will be stationed at Apple Blossom Mall, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Big Lots and the Shop ‘n Save in Berryville. The Shop ‘n Save stores in Winchester and Frederick County recently closed.

The Salvation Army hopes to raise $140,000 this year. Last year, its campaign fell nearly $18,000 short of its $150,000 goal.

“We are disappointingly probably going to make less because we lost five locations of Shop ‘n Save,” Durant said. “But we are still going to work and do our best to raise about $140,000.”

The Salvation Army currently has 60 bell ringers, but it could use about 40 more.

Money raised during the campaign will serve families in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties who are in need of food, temporary housing and other assistance.

The Salvation Army has a homeless shelter at 300 Fort Collier Road with 48 beds. The shelter serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Tara McInturff, director of marketing for Apple Blossom Mall, commended the Salvation Army during the kickoff.

“It really shows the Salvation Army’s dedication to our community that they continue to hold this event on this snowy and icy day,” McInturff said. “They are truly here for our community.”

During the kickoff, the Salvation Army Brass Band of the National Capital Area played Christmas carols such as “Silver Bells” and “Jingle Bells” while those in attendance rang small handheld bells.

Later today, Apple Blossom Mall plans to set up a tree for the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Angel Tree program, which provides holiday gifts to local children.

People who want to purchase presents for a child at Christmas can select an angel-shaped tag from one of the Christmas trees that will be placed in public locations throughout the Winchester area. The angel will contain information about the child, such as name, age and Christmas wish list. People can buy gifts for the Angel Tree program until Dec. 20. The gifts will be brought to a distribution center, where they will be ready for pick up before Christmas.

Families who want to register their children for gifts through the Angel Tree program still have time, as the Salvation Army extended the registration deadline until 3 p.m. Sunday. Registration must be done in person at 300 Fort Collier Road.

When registering for the program, parents or caregivers must bring a valid photo ID, passport or consulate card to identify themselves. They must also provide proof of residence, proof of income, and birth certificates of all children (up to age 12) being registered, as well as custody or guardianship papers if the applicant is not the biological parent. Expecting mothers will need to a due date document from a physician if their child will be born before Dec. 25.

For more information, visit the Salvation Army’s website at virginiasalvationarmy.org/winchestervacorps or call 540-662-4777.

Broker/Owner, Al Abbitt, and Director of Operations, Brooke Scutt, were presented the award for "2017 Donor of the Year" by The Salvation Army

RE/MAX Peninsula awarded “2017 Donor of the Year” by The Salvation Army of the Virginia Peninsula

Broker/Owner, Al Abbitt, and Director of Operations, Brooke Scutt, were presented the award for “2017 Donor of the Year” by The Salvation Army of the Virginia Peninsula.

“Our group was so moved by the Angel Tree program and the Salvation Army striving to provide Christmas to thousands of children on the Peninsula. However, three weeks before Christmas there were still nearly 600 children in danger of being forgotten and having no Christmas. Our team rallied with adopting angels, sharing the message throughout of networks and raising additional funds. In 2017, all 4,654 “Angels” we’re adopted, something we were incredibly honored to be a part of,” says Scutt.

About RE/MAX Peninsula:
RE/MAX Peninsula is a local, veteran owned and operated full- service real estate brokerage with offices at 25 Diligence Drive, Suite 126, Newport News, 5400 Discovery Park Blvd. Suite 101, Williamsburg, and 6549 Main Street, Suite 2, Gloucester, VA.. Founded in 1992, the brokerage has over 70 Realtors® and specializes in residential real estate and property management. RE/MAX Peninsula is a proud supporter of Children’s Miracle Network Hospital® and various local organizations.

Winchester resident Carolyn Griffin was given a surprise honor Friday during a meeting of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

City woman receives honor from Salvation Army Winchester

WINCHESTER — For nearly 50 years, city resident Carolyn Griffin has served as a volunteer with the local Salvation Army. When asked why she has stayed involved with the nonprofit organization for five decades she said, “If I sit down, I’ll never get back up.”

An international Christian charity, the Salvation Army’s local headquarters is the Center of Hope Shelter, at 300 Fort Collier Road, which provides food and shelter to individuals and families in need.

Griffin, 77, was presented a Certificate of Life Membership award Friday afternoon at the local shelter during a luncheon for Salvation Army Advisory Board members.

“Just to know, there are only a handful of people that ever get this,” said Salvation Army Captain Kelly Durant as he handed Griffin the award. He said it was “phenomenal” that she has stuck with the organization for so long.

“This is truly an honor,” Griffin said.

Griffin joined the Salvation Army in 1969, after being recruited by one of the organization’s Advisory Board members. At that time, she said there were few charitable organizations in Winchester.

For the past 20 years, she said she has helped organize the Army’s annual food drive. Last year, the Army collected 2,243 pounds of food, she said.

“Hunger never takes a vacation,” Griffin said. “These kids that receive free and reduced lunch [at school], vacation comes and what happens? There are no meals. And they go hungry.”

This year’s Food Drive will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. May 25 at the Walmart on Northwestern Pike (U.S. 50).

Griffin said she is not someone who “hops from board to board” and that she likes to stick with organizations for a long time.

In addition to serving the Salvation Army for so long, Griffin has also volunteered with the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival for 50 years and previously served as its president. She was also on Winchester City Council for 22 years, before leaving in 2008. She also volunteers for the Winchester Medical Center Auxiliary-sponsored Animal Assisted Therapy Program.

“I keep busy,” she said.

Also on Friday, the Salvation Army awarded the Rev. Dan Garrett a Certificate of an Honorary Member award.

Garrett, 77, is the vice president of the Salvation Army’s Advisory Board. He has volunteered with the Army for 16 years.

Garrett is a retired United Methodist Church minister. He served as pastor of Duncan Memorial United Methodist in Berryville from 1982 to 1996.

Every Thursday, he works in the Salvation Army kitchen to provide meals to people in need.

“It’s more fun serving as a volunteer in the kitchen than board meetings,” Garrett said. “I love being in the kitchen and interacting with the people that come there.” Durant praised Garrett as someone who is “an example of humility.”

Garrett and his wife, Susan, plan to leave their Berryville home by early September to move to southern California to be closer to family.

“That’s just sad news for everybody,” Durant said of Garrett’s departure. “We wish him the very best. You are an amazing reverend.”

Pathway of Hope offers Roanoke Valley families route to stability The Salvation Army program focuses on helping families to become self-sufficient

Pathway of Hope offers Roanoke Valley families route to stability

ROANOKE, Va. – A program at the Salvation Army works to help local families in need. It’s called the Pathway of Hope and it helps families break the cycle of poverty.

The program is for people who are working but aren’t making enough money to support themselves and their families. They must have at least one child and live in Roanoke City or Roanoke County.

Deborah Cobourn, the case manager for the program, says it started with a simple question – why did the Salvation Army keep seeing some of the same people coming in for help?

She says by offering a temporary fix over and over, the Salvation Army didn’t feel like it was really addressing underlying problems. Pathway of Hope’s goal is to address the issues and create targeted solutions. Those involved in the program are put on a path to self-sufficiency and stability.

Cobourn says by making these changes within the family, it’s not just the parents who benefit but the children as well.

“We’re trying to make generational changes here,” Cobourn says. “It’s the ripple effect, that what we do will echo into their lives and it is very powerful. They see everything their parents do and to see somebody come in and say, ‘This can be different.’ That is a huge inspiration to them. They’re always going to carry that with them.”

Pathway of Hope is able to team up with other community organizations to help find the best solution for each family’s need and offer intense one-on-one case management for about 15 families at a time.

Once enrolled, one of the first steps for participants is to figure out the underlying cause of poverty for their situation. It may be situational, by death, divorce or desertion, or it may be intergenerational with the issue of poverty going back two generation or more.

After that, they set their specific goals, determining what it’s going to take to get them from point A to point B.

Cheerilyn Chapman started the program last year and is currently taking part in a Jobs for Life course to help her find a full-time skilled working position. She says after some medical issues knocked her off the planned path, she’s working to get things back on track for her seven kids.

“They’re learning firsthand by seeing it,” says Chapman. “It’s really helpful for them to see me struggling, see me setting goals, see me doing this even at my ripe old age. They’re seeing it can happen. It makes a difference.”

She says one of her goals is to be able to give back and help other families who face similar struggles.

For more information on the Roanoke Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program, click here.

Ending the cycle of Poverty in Roanoke, VA

Hand Up, Not a Hand Out to end the cycle of Poverty in Roanoke, VA

Research shows that children who grow up in poverty are 32 times more likely to be in poverty as adults.

Ending the cycle of poverty is one of the goals of the Salvation Army Roanoke, and its program, Pathway of Hope.

You could say that the agency is helping families pick up, where the Angel Tree program leaves off.

“Angel Tree’s a great program to help people in times of need, and there’s a three year limit. It’s not an entitlement program. It’s not something you can do every single year to get presents for your kids. It’s for people who are in really desperate situations,” says Deborah Cobourn, with the Salvation Army in Roanoke.

Angel Tree recipients in Roanoke now have to take budgeting classes.
Cobourn is teaching those classes to help parents become more self sufficient.

“Sometimes, when you keep giving and giving and giving, it takes something away from a person’s dignity. So, we want to help people help themselves,” says Cobourn.

The Salvation Army is taking that mission a step further, with the program, Pathway of Hope.

It offers case management and other tools to help parents end generations of poverty.

Bridget Tolliver is one of the participants.

She grew up as a foster child.

Now, she’s a mom, and wants her two small children to have a better life.

“You have to really want the services, and want to do better. It’s not about somebody just handing out to you. If I’m getting off of services, I have to really work toward doing better and not doing the same thing and dwelling in government housing, trying to get your own apartment, budgeting, just being financially stable,” says Tolliver.

Tolliver loves cooking, and wants to someday open her own international restaurant in Roanoke.
She’s now enrolled in the culinary program at Virginia Western, and says she feels like she’s a better mom now.

“I feel like I’m finding meaning between everything, my work, my kids and trying to get them to have everything that they need and for me to be situated to take care of them,” says Tolliver.

Cobourn says Tolliver is a shining example of where she hopes the Pathway of Hope will lead for others.

She says, “the mitigating factor is they want to change. They don’t want a hand-out. They want a hand up.”

The Salvation Army’s cold winter shelter at the Center of Hope is a 24-hour emergency shelter

Salvation Army Lynchburg Aids homeless During Winter Weather

Winter weather can make life even more challenging for the Lynchburg area’s homeless and food-insecure populations. To help manage these needs, local organizations serving the homeless have contingency plans in case of snow or cold weather.

When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, the Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg offers shelter to anyone in need — whether they are temporarily homeless or having heating issues in their home — at its Center of Hope, located at 2211 Park Ave., said Tammy Shank, director of development for Lynchburg’s Salvation Army.

“We want people to know that there’s a place that they can go so they won’t freeze,” she said. “We’re here to help, we’re here to serve. It’s our mission to do that. We want to create an environment where they feel like they can come here at any time.”

The Salvation Army’s cold shelter at the Center of Hope is a 24-hour emergency shelter, meaning people can seek refuge day or night. Visitors are welcome to stay for up to a week.

“If they see that their stay is going to extend beyond seven days, then we will start working with them to try to find a permanent solution to their situation, whether that is housing or whether we can help them with their bill situation, we look to try to help them fix that challenge,” Shank explained.

 While at the shelter, guests are served breakfast and dinner through the community feeding program, which also is open to anyone in the community needing a meal. To support this mission, the Salvation Army is in need of breakfast cereal, oatmeal, milk, juice, and Styrofoam products like plates and bowls, said Jamie Warrick, residential program manager at Center of Hope. The center requests donations of clean, gently-used pillows, washcloths, and towels with no bodily stains as well.

The cold shelter “definitely” sees increased traffic during winter weather, Shank said, and although it typically has 50 beds, itcan accommodate anyone who needs a place to stay.

 “We don’t turn people away from our cold weather shelter,” she emphasized.

If all beds are full, staff members will set up temporary cots in the Center of Hope cafeteria and chapel.

The Salvation Army has served the Lynchburg community for over 110 years, Shank said, and the organization has helped “thousands” of people in need through its various programs, including sheltering and community feeding.

The Salvation Army's 127th Red Kettle Campaign Raises $144.5 Million

Salvation Army Surpasses Red Kettle Campaign Fundraising Goal

HARRISONBURG — The local chapter of The Salvation Army surpassed its fundraising goal for its red kettle campaign by more than $1,000.

The Harrisonburg-area corps raised $191,410 in a campaign that ran from Nov. 16 to Dec. 23, according to a press release Monday. The nonprofit’s goal was $190,000, an even greater amount than what kettles have raised in previous years, according to the release.

Capt. John Blevins, who leads the local organization, said in the release he was grateful for the community’s generosity.

 “We are thankful that we reached our kettle goal because of the businesses, churches, civic groups, families and individuals partnering with The Salvation Army,” Blevins said. “We hope that as the year continues we will be able to raise funds to supplement the decrease in the year end direct mail giving.”

While the red kettle donations were up, The Salvation Army received about 40 percent fewer mailed donations this year, according to the release.

The nonprofit reached its goal with the help of matching grants from Skyline Roofing and Stone Hill Construction, both of Rockingham County, during the final weekend, according to the release.

 The red kettle campaign began 12 days later than usual because the local corps was worried about burning out the few volunteers it had. With less than a week left in the campaign, the nonprofit was down about $65,000.

The money pays for Salvation Army services and programs throughout the year, which includes operating its 64-bed shelter and food pantry that helps feed about 300 families a month.

Contact Ellie Potter at 574-6286

Charlottesville-area advocates for the homeless rise to the occasion

Charlottesville-area advocates for the homeless rise to the occasion

A mother, her son in a stroller, sits in the front row and quietly talks with a couple of friends.

From the stage, once the altar of the historic First Christian Church on the corner of Market and First streets in downtown Charlottesville, an older man’s chainsaw snore competes with the throaty tussiculation of a young woman.

Downstairs, The Haven’s day room is busy with folks who have chosen the noise and warmth of the shelter over the subfreezing cold outside.

A week of frigid highs, brisk winds with harsh wind chills and nighttime lows in single digits has been inhospitable to the homeless. But local organizations and people are working to provide warmth, safety and food to the vulnerable.

“We usually close at noon because we’re just a temporary shelter. We’re here to get people connected, to get their needs met. But when it’s this frigid, we make the decision to stay open,” said Diana Boeke, The Haven’s community engagement director.

She spoke in hushed tones to not wake those sleeping.

“It’s a very busy time of year to be staying in a shelter. You’re warm, but it’s nothing like a hotel. You’re in a room with 30, maybe 40 other people,” Boeke said. “Some people may have mental health issues that can be disruptive of sleep. Some people may have issues with another person that makes them feel unsafe. There’s snoring and coughing, and it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. That’s why you’ve got people who are still dead tired in the middle of the day, and we really don’t have issues with folks trying to get a few more hours of sleep.”

Near the U.S. 250 Bypass and Hydraulic Road, Karen Allen handed Rebekah Bobrek a sack lunch and a blanket. Allen, who lives on a fixed and limited income, has taken on the job of providing a lunch to those standing on street corners.

 “I’ve always been just the next paycheck away from homelessness, and thanks to the generosity of my parents, it didn’t happen,” Allen said. “I could identify with the desperation it takes to be standing out there on a street corner holding a sign.”

With desperation just outside her door, Allen said she felt the need to help those whose doors didn’t hold. That feeling grew stronger after the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally that ended in violence and death, she said.

“After Aug. 12, we had haters and the people who hated the haters,” she said. “There was so much hating, so much negativity, that I felt overwhelmed. I passed people on street corners and thought, ‘It would take just a little love by someone to give something to those people.’ Then I thought that maybe, with some love, I could get through all the hate.”

Three times a week, Allen packages homemade sandwiches, crackers, desserts, snacks and water and makes the rounds. She also tosses a $1 bill into the bag as a personal gift.

When the cold snap hit, Allen cooked hot foods like macaroni and cheese, chili and turkey soup.

“The benefit to them is a hot meal in the cold, but the benefit to me is much, much more,” Allen said. “You only get what you give away, and I feel so much better for trying to help, for doing something, even if there really isn’t much I can afford to do.”

Allen’s son has served as her delivery driver but soon will take a new job. To keep the program growing, she has sought assistance from Kroger and local cab companies, but she hasn’t heard from them.

She said she isn’t seeking monetary donations — unless it is in $1 bills for the lunch bags — but would take food for the lunches and time to help deliver them.

“I’m trying to change the world one street corner at a time,” she said, laughing.

Near the U.S. 250 Bypass and Hydraulic Road, Karen Allen handed Rebekah Bobrek a sack lunch and a blanket. Allen, who lives on a fixed and limited income, has taken on the job of providing a lunch to those standing on street corners.

 “I’ve always been just the next paycheck away from homelessness, and thanks to the generosity of my parents, it didn’t happen,” Allen said. “I could identify with the desperation it takes to be standing out there on a street corner holding a sign.”

With desperation just outside her door, Allen said she felt the need to help those whose doors didn’t hold. That feeling grew stronger after the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally that ended in violence and death, she said.

“After Aug. 12, we had haters and the people who hated the haters,” she said. “There was so much hating, so much negativity, that I felt overwhelmed. I passed people on street corners and thought, ‘It would take just a little love by someone to give something to those people.’ Then I thought that maybe, with some love, I could get through all the hate.”

Three times a week, Allen packages homemade sandwiches, crackers, desserts, snacks and water and makes the rounds. She also tosses a $1 bill into the bag as a personal gift.

When the cold snap hit, Allen cooked hot foods like macaroni and cheese, chili and turkey soup.

“The benefit to them is a hot meal in the cold, but the benefit to me is much, much more,” Allen said. “You only get what you give away, and I feel so much better for trying to help, for doing something, even if there really isn’t much I can afford to do.”

Allen’s son has served as her delivery driver but soon will take a new job. To keep the program growing, she has sought assistance from Kroger and local cab companies, but she hasn’t heard from them.

She said she isn’t seeking monetary donations — unless it is in $1 bills for the lunch bags — but would take food for the lunches and time to help deliver them.

“I’m trying to change the world one street corner at a time,” she said, laughing.

One said a propane heater for his tent keeps him warm enough to stay at the camp full time.

The campers declined to give their names or have their photos taken and asked that their camp locations not be identified.

 “It can be hard for the average individual to comprehend, but there are some people who still choose to stay outside, even in this cold,” said Jayson Whitehead, executive director of PACEM.

PACEM is a seasonal shelter operated by People And Congregations Engaged in Ministry, a grassroots organization of 80 congregations that work collaboratively to provide for the homeless.

The shelter is open between October and April when temperatures hit dangerous lows. Those seeking shelter sign up at The Haven.

 “Homeless people often try to take care of other homeless people. It’s not unusual to hear someone say to another homeless person, ‘Hey, you’re going to PACEM tonight, right?’ You often see homeless people looking out for each other,” Whitehead said.

 “At this time of the year, we’re at or near our capacity on the men’s side of the shelter most nights. We’re allowed 45. The women’s shelter numbers are far lower. We had 16 the other night, which is high for us. We usually have about 12,” he said.

Whitehead said last week that he predicted PACEM being at peak occupancy over the weekend and until the daily low temperatures rise.

The Salvation Army takes our spillover when we’re at capacity,” he said. “They have a ‘warm room’ for us where people can have a warm place to be out of the weather.”

Whitehead said there is no single cause for people being homeless. For some, it’s economics. For others, it could be mental health or substance abuse issues.

“Some people have issues with rules, and others have trouble with a shelter environment with 40 people sleeping on cots. We are a low-barrier shelter, in that we don’t breathalyse or drug test, so we get a lot of those folks who would otherwise probably stay outside,” Whitehead said. “And that’s why we’re here.”

Suffolk Christian Church will once again partner with The Salvation Army

Church to offer warmth this weekend

Suffolk Christian Church will once again partner with The Salvation Army and Social Services for their annual Coats for Community giveaway this Saturday and Monday.

Those in need can come from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. Monday to the church at 216 N. Main St. for coats, scarves, mittens, hats and more to keep them warm this winter.

This will be the 28th year the church has held the giveaway, and it’s grown every year, according to church member Kitty Martin.

“Hundreds of people got coats last year,” Martin said.

The church is still accepting donations for this year’s giveaway and also needs more volunteers to help families choose items from the racks.

“Whatever they bring to us, we’ll go through them and they sometimes need to be cleaned, if they’re a little bit too ragged,” Martin said. “But most of these coats we give away are in very good condition.”

The church accepts donations year-around of new or gently used coats, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and sweaters, as well as cash, which is used to purchase new items.

Call 539-9182 for more information.

Homeless shelters welcoming people who need warmth and a place to stay

Homeless shelters welcoming people who need warmth and a place to stay

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) — It’s bitter cold outside and at House of Hope Homeless Shelter in Danville they’re helping men, women and children keep warm in their time of need. The shelter is located at 206 South Ridge Street in Danville.

It’s been a lifesaver,” Martha Lugar said.

Lugar has been staying at House of Hope for about two months.

“It’s saved me so to speak,” She said. “I don’t think anybody ever sees themselves in this position… I certainly didn’t.”

If it wasn’t for House of Hope, she’d be out in the cold.

She said she was taking care of her mother for years, but had to move her to an assisted living facility recently due to her health.

She said that is one of the reason why she has been staying at the shelter. “We couldn’t do that and keep the house at the same time,” she said.

So she is without a home right now and has been unemployed for the past year, but said things may be looking up for her soon.

“I’ve got a few things in the works as far as some short term emergency housing,” she said. “I’ve got a real good job possibility lined up that I won’t know about until Wednesday.”

When extreme temperatures hit, that’s when House of Hope tends to be the busiest.

“It’s pretty cold outside right now, so we have nine guests here today. Our numbers usually run between 10-12, but we can house up to 16 guests at one time. It has been full several times,” shelter director Stephen Anderson said.

The shelter has plenty of food, beds and the most important thing during the winter… heat!

Guests can stay for up to two months at the shelter, but they have to go though a screening at the Danville Police Department beforehand.

The shelter is open everyday and they let new guests come in between 5 PM-to-8:30 PM.

“I just hope that everyone that’s not in the position that I’m in right now will find somewhere warm and safe to be,” Lugar said.

Most shelters do require you to have some form to stay, like House of Hope.

There are several other shelters in our area which offer relief from this frigid weather.

In Danville there is Haven of the Dan River Region. They cater to women and children who are victims from domestic violence. You can call them at (434)-483-5482. The address that is given on their website is P.O. Box 878

Danville, VA 24543.

In Lynchburg, The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope houses 88 people and it is located at 2215 Park Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24501. You can call them at (434)-845-5939.

And in Roanoke, Rescue Mission Ministries also welcomes people who may need warmth and shelter during cold times. Their address is 402 4th Street SE, Roanoke, VA 24013. You can reach them by telephone at (540)-343-7227.