Rady give $50 million to help homeless

Mr. and Mrs. Rady give $50 million to help homeless

Mr. and Mrs. Rady give $50 million to help homeless.

The Salvation Army is pleased to announce an unprecedented $80 million campaign to build and endow two new facilities with programs designed to
bring men, women, and families in need from Homeless to Home.

This dream is made possible thanks to a transformational $50 million gift from Ernest & Evelyn Rady. The Salvation Army is seeking to raise an additional $30 million for these two new facilities, The Rady Residence at The Door of Hope Rady Campus and The Rady Center at our Centre City Campus in downtown San Diego.

The Salvation Army has the history, knowledge, resources and ability to help end homelessness in San Diego. As a leader in working with the homeless worldwide for more than 150 years and over 130 in San Diego, we already have dynamic programs in place supporting the homeless population of San Diego in rebuilding their lives, but there is much more we can do to help.

Thanks to this generous lead gift from Mr. and Mrs. Rady, we have been compelled to step up and do more and make an even greater impact towards ending homelessness in San Diego for generations to come.

San Diego’s Homeless Crisis

San Diego is experiencing a homeless crisis. The County of San Diego has the fourth highest homeless population in the nation. In the 2017 WeALLCount survey, the total number of homeless individuals was 9,116 with 5,621 of those being unsheltered.

The Salvation Army knows that the homeless crisis is a major issue facing San Diego. We are committed to providing a solution and helping bring San Diego’s Homeless to Home.

A lack of affordable housing is a major contributing factor to the problem. Recent reports state that the median home purchase price in the county is $550,000 and the rental vacancy rate in the city is 3.3%.

What We’re doing

This past year, we provided 73,347 nights of shelter, but there’s so much more we do to help those in need break away from homelessness.

The Salvation Army’s approach to human services and helping people transition from Homeless to Home is faith-based and inspired by the recognition that meaningful transformation must come from the inside out. Our holistic programming approach meets immediate human needs while offering ongoing support by assisting with food, shelter, educational support, counseling services, rehabilitation programs and vocational direction.

We are committed to making a real difference – providing shelter is just the beginning. We believe The Salvation Army is uniquely qualified to make an impact on homelessness for the following reasons:

  • Our holistic approach. We seek to help the whole person with a continuum of services that transforms lives. Once the homeless have a roof over their head, healing begins and individuals can work to return to a productive life with dignity. Many of our programs, from character building programs for young people to home-delivered and congregate meals for seniors, prevent homelessness for those most at risk.
  • Our history of support. The Salvation Army has served San Diego for over 130 years – including 267,000+ needy individuals in San Diego County last year, approximately 8% of the population.
  • Our track record. The Salvation Army is a fixture in downtown San Diego, providing compassionate services. Our homeless programs boast a 78% success rate in returning participants to permanent housing. Our Door of Hope campus has been serving homeless women and children since 1965.


Join Us

Together, the Rady Family and The Salvation Army are joining forces to transform lives and take men, women and children from Homeless to Home.  These new projects will take them off the street, provide a safe shelter, food, support and counseling to help those experiencing homelessness become productive citizens again.

Ernest and Evelyn Rady have committed $50,000,000 to help build this bridge back into the community.  Please help us raise the additional $30,000,000 matching gift to complete these projects that take San Diego’s Homeless to Home.

Be a part of the homeless solution! Join forces with Ernest and Evelyn Rady and The Salvation Army as we commit to changing the plight of homelessness in San Diego.

Chris Paul describes how he feels about The Salvation Army

This past off-season, Houston and their NBA team scored huge when Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets in June.

USA Today weighed in, saying of Chris, “The Rockets added one of the greatest point guards of the generation to a system built for great point guards.”

That is true: Chris is 10th on the list of career assists leaders.

But this is also true: he is a giver not a taker, on and off the court.

Chris spent his NBA rookie year with the New Orleans Hornets in 2005, which was the year hurricane Katrina hit. That same year, he founded the Chris Paul Family Foundation to partner with various programs, including The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, to help those in need through their darkest hours.

This season, after a stint with the L.A. Clippers, Chris found himself traded to another city about to be hit by a hurricane—Houston.

Chris participated in a televised benefit in New York City this past September to raise money for the victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, giving $75,000 to that effort. And as president of the NBA Players Association, he stated that their union would match donations of up to $20,000 given by any NBA player.

“Giving back has nothing to do with what you have but everything to do with what you can give by lending your time to support others,” he states.

Chris took time while relocating to Houston to answer a few questions for Faith & Friends:

Describe your experience of being in both New Orleans and Houston in the aftermath of their hurricanes. What was it like to witness such horrific devastation, but also to see up close and personal the resiliency and sacrificial giving of people?
There is no way to describe the devastation that people in New Orleans felt during Katrina and now in Houston with Harvey and Irma. Faith plays a strong role in surviving these situations, and I have seen that faith in action. My family and I have been blessed to be able to assist in the recovery of both of those cities. But the thing that stands out most for me is seeing organizations such as The Salvation Army roll up their sleeves and get into the heart of the community to help with both tangible things as well as much-needed spiritual support. This is one of the reasons why I’m proud to be able to work with their Boys & Girls Clubs in the cities where I have lived and played.

At a Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club fundraising dinner a few years ago, you mentioned having to work hard at Wake Forest University because you were the smallest on the team and that, despite your success there, you had your doubts about making the NBA. What do you think is the difference between those who use tough circumstances as a cop-out and those who use them as a motivator?
It comes down to your foundation. My parents, together with the rest of our family, raised us to know we should pursue our dreams regardless of the sacrifice. I was shorter than most guys who aspire to be in the NBA, but I learned to have confidence in my ability to play. Both my parents were coaches for my teams as a teenager, and I was expected to work as hard, if not harder, than other players if I wanted to be the best I could be.

Recently on Twitter, you celebrated Jada, your wife of six years. What contributes to such a happy union?
Jada and I have grown together. We’re both from North Carolina, and we understand and believe in the power of family. We are raising our kids, Chris Jr. and Camryn, with a lot of family support. People always hear me say, “Our family rolls deep.” Members of both our families are in cities where I play regularly. We normally host 30 to 40 family members during the holidays, so our kids know and appreciate that they can depend on family for support.

What’s the best thing about being a dad?
Watching my kids grow. I learn so much from them every day. I guess you could consider my wife and me “old school” parents who want our kids to have the same respect for people that we were taught. The bond my wife and I have makes it even more rewarding to be a dad because we are on the same page regarding our kids.

Do you have a favourite Bible verse  that helps you live a life of faith?
Yes, the most famous Bible verses about what love really is—1 Corinthians 13:4-7. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (English Standard Version).

Describe one personal accomplishment,  out of so many, that matters most to you.
One of my most important accomplishments is the work that our family foundation does together. We’ve done tech labs at numerous schools and Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. My wife hosts two annual prom dress giveaways in Winston-Salem and Los Angeles. When a young person comes up and thanks you not only for whatever the event is but also for taking time to show up, that is a memory that lasts forever.

WAFF Ice House Fuel fund Salvation Army

Fuel fund builds icehouse to raise donations for needy families

WASHINGTON — Extreme stretches of cold weather like we’ve had this season can be budget busters for heating bills, and the Washington Area Fuel Fund is raising money to help needy families — with the help of an icehouse.

 “We’re going to be sitting on ice. We’re going to be sitting within ice walls and we’re going to feel what it’s like not to be able to keep that thermostat up to 68 or 70 degrees,” said Adrian P. Chapman, president and chief operating officer of WGL Holdings Inc.
 Anyone is welcome to visit the icehouse at Washington Harbour to make a donation. Local celebrities will be chilling out inside its cold confines for 30 minutes at a time in order to raise donations.

Special icehouse appearances include WTOP’s Bruce Alan and Joan Jones Friday at 3 p.m. Washington Capitals alumnus Peter Bondra and Slapshot the mascot will chill out at 2 p.m. Thursday. Washington Bullets alumnus Harvey Grant and the Washington Mystics’ mascot, Pax the Panda, are the chill-ebrities at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Because Washington Gas takes care of all the Washington Area Fuel Fund administrative costs, every dollar that is donated goes to help families pay their heating bills — whatever the energy source.

In 2017, the Washington Area Fuel Fund distributed more than $770,000 to help more than 8,000 families. Eighty-five percent had electric heat, 13 percent used natural gas, and two percent heated their homes with other sources, such as oil, kerosene, wood and pellets.

“You’ve got families who are at the poverty level who are probably paying about 30 percent of their income for energy bills,” Chapman said. “They may be eligible for federal heating assistance, but there just aren’t enough funds to go around.”

 The Washington Area Fuel Fund icehouse will be accepting donations at Washington Harbour Thursday (2–8 p.m.), Friday (2–9 p.m.) and Saturday (12–9 p.m.).

You can also donate anytime at their website online.

Volunteers provide gifts & toys for boy after Christmas Eve burglary

Volunteers provide Toys & Gifts for boy after Christmas Eve burglary

ANDERSON – Though a Grinch might have stolen 6-year-old Lamar Graves’ gifts on Christmas Eve, a group of volunteers made sure he still had toys & presents to open – even if they were two weeks late.

Representatives from the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and Hoosiers with Hearts surprised Lamar with a Christmas in January on Wednesday to make up for the presents that were stolen after a burglary at their home in the 1100 block of Locust Street, where he lives with his mother, Pamela Graves.

The volunteers brought armful after armful of wrapped presents and food for Lamar, who sat wide-eyed and smiling on the family’s mauve sofa. As each bundle of presents came in, he squirmed and smiled, keeping his hands clutched in his lap, fighting back the urge to tear into the gifts.

 “This is almost overwhelming. I can’t believe how many good-hearted people that are still out there,” Pamela Graves said. “This is so beyond what I expected.”

The surprise was organized by Randy Howard, founder of Hoosiers with Hearts, who contacted Graves to see what she needed after he heard about the break-in.

Anderson police believe those responsible for the robbery backed a truck into the driveway and that several people were involved in the Christmas Eve break-in. The thieves apparently broke into the house by kicking in the back door and breaking a window. According to police, three television sets, clothing, Lamar’s school clothes and decorations from the walls were stolen.

No one has been arrested for the crime.

When Howard heard Lamar’s story, he said he couldn’t just let the young boy go without a Christmas.

“I was really moved by this,” he said. “This is about turning something bad into something good.”

Howard then contacted Beth Stamper, of the Salvation Army of Henry County, who reached out to Toys for Tots and other donors to find presents for Lamar. Stamper also worked with a food bank to provide food for the family.

 “Randy contacted us and it was just heartbreaking that someone would do that to anyone, especially to a little boy on Christmas,” Stamper said. “As word got out, presents started pouring in.”

For Graves, the help, presents and prayers that have poured in have helped to re-establish her faith in humanity, which was shaken after the burglary.

“Everyone has their own lives and it’s just so great that people will take a second to help out,” she said.

As she watched her son unwrap a remote-control car and a Superman action figure, she could barely hold back her tears.

“It makes my heart melt,” she said. “I don’t have the words to thank everyone.”

Salvation Army receives $310k from Duke Energy Ohio & Customers

Salvation Army Heat Share receives $310k from Duke Energy Ohio & Customers

The Salvation Army received $100,000from Duke Energy Ohio in addition to $210,000 in customer contributions and matching funds for the 2018 HeatShare program. The program provides people in need with financial assistance to pay for utilities. In many cases, these individuals and families face disconnection of utilities and possible eviction as a result of their inability to stay current on their utility bills.

The HeatShare program is available to eligible Duke Energy customers in southwest Ohio and provides heating assistance from Jan. 16 to April 30, 2018, or until funds are all used. If funds are available after April 30, they may be used for cooling assistance until depleted. People in need of assistance may call The Salvation Army HeatShare line at 513.762.5636 to schedule an appointment for the program or to get more information.

“HeatShare has been a vital program in Ohio for over 30 years, helping families and individuals in need,” explained Cindy Givens, program manager at Duke Energy. “We’re delighted to partner with our customers and The Salvation Army to help ensure those in need won’t be cold this winter, especially with the single-digit temperatures we experienced earlier this month.”

HeatShare was established in 1986 to assist Ohio residents in need with winter heating bills and is funded by Duke Energy customers, employees and shareholders. In 2017, over 19,000 Duke Energy Ohio customers voluntarily added a HeatShare contribution to their monthly bill and contributed $110,000 to the fund. Duke Energy Ohio provided a $100,000 donation and then matched all customer and employee donations up to $100,000. In 2017, the HeatShare program provided utility assistance to 810 families across southwest Ohio. Additional information about the program can be found on the Duke Energy Ohio website.

Duke Energy customers in Northern Kentucky can receive WinterCare assistance and should contact their county’s Neighborhood Center or the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission at 859.581.6607.

Salvation Army Donate Local

Charity: The Perfect Time is Now to Donate

Since its inception more than a century ago, The Salvation Army’s mission has been to bring relief and assistance to our neighbors in need. Our ability to live out that mission is made possible by the generosity  of our fellow Americans – generosity that has been encouraged by the federal tax code for more than 100 years.

Sweeping changes in the tax laws codified by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Trump last week will weaken incentives to give and are projected to greatly reduce charitable giving in the U.S. Although the “charitable deduction” will be retained, experts fear that the increase in the standard deduction that taxpayers can claim will discourage many from taking advantage of it

According to Una Osili, economics professor and associate dean for research and international programs at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, these changes will especially impact middle-income families, many of whom regularly support The Salvation Army. She estimates that roughly 30 million households making between $50,000 and $100,000 annually will be less likely to itemize deductions on their taxes. For those donors, their charitable gifts will effectively be taxed. According to the Independent Sector, a consortium of nonprofits, these changes could result in a loss of private donations to charities of between $12 billion and $20 billion annually.

The prospect of so steep a reduction in donations is of serious concern. Every year, The Salvation Army counts on donors to help nearly 25 million Americans by supporting services ranging from meals and housing to after-school care, Christmas assistance, addiction recovery and rehabilitation, and many other social services.

We know that many people view the opportunity to help others as personally enriching, not merely a line item on a tax return. But Indiana University’s researchers found that itemizers are much more likely to contribute to charitable causes than those who claim the standard deduction. Their study found that 83 percent of itemizers reported making charitable contributions, compared to 44 percent of non-itemizers.

Year after year, The Salvation Army also sees how that tax benefit provides motivation to donors at year’s end. The Salvation Army raises more money in the last two days of the year than in the entire month of November. In fact, The Salvation Army raises more money in November and December than in all other months combined.

As 2017 comes to an end, many charities like ours are reaching out to donors, large and small, urging them to give before this incentive to give is gone.

Here are other ways to be sure your donation is “Doing the Most Good”:

Keep your donation local

Salvation Army Keep Your Donation Local

The Salvation Army serves those in need in every ZIP code across the U.S., providing shelter, meals, school supplies, drug and alcohol rehab programs, emotional and spiritual guidance, and disaster relief. All donations stay local. When you donate to The Salvation Army, the money stays in your community to help your neighbors who need it most.

Make the most impact with your money

Salvation Army Make The Most Impact with your money

The Salvation Army uses more than 82 cents of every dollar donated to provide social services that help everyday Americans. This is more than any other nonprofit organization of The Salvation Army’s size, keeping true to our promise of “Doing the Most Good.”

Timing matters

Salvation Army Timing Matters When money is donated

Charitable and nonprofit organizations see a spike in requests for services during the holiday season. With the extra costs of the holidays pinching already strapped budgets, the need is high.

It pays to give back

Salvation Army Year End Tax Deductible Donation

Gifts postmarked before December 31 qualify for a tax deduction. It only makes sense to take advantage of the charitable deduction while it still pays to do so!

Commissioner David Hudson is the national commander of The Salvation Army USA.

The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Toy Depot

The Christmas Spirit of Giving Is Alive

The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Christmas Depot

A wonderland of toys is tucked away in this former department store in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Moms and dads from all over the area came to fill their carts with presents to go under the tree.  Major James Allison of the Salvation Army said, “Through the Christmas Depot we are able to show, that there is a loving God; that there is a Christ who loves them. That the Christmas spirit of giving is alive and well in Hampton Roads. And their children, who they thought would not have very much for Christmas, will have an abundance of gifts for Christmas.”

In this week-long event, the Salvation Army worked alongside the United States Marine Corps, Toys For Tots, and Operation Blessing, to help parents struggling to provide gifts for their children. Toys for Tots representative, Gunny Sergeant Julio Muniz explained, “Sometimes less fortunate children don’t get the opportunity to get toys, their parents probably have a circumstance where they can not give them that and we want to make sure that every child in America has a Christmas. The biggest peace for me is seeing that parent that’s appreciative and the tears, the water-works, you know and how grateful they are with us, it definitely pays off.”

As vice-president of Operation Blessing’s disaster relief programs, Jody Gettys understands what coming to the Christmas Depot means to these parents. She said, “For us at CBN and for me as a mom to be able to be part of something that gives back in such a huge way to make Christmas possible for families for mothers for single dads for couples right here at home means everything.”

Karen Stevens is a mother of three.  This past year her husband was laid off from work and his unemployment recently ran out. She didn’t expect much to be under the tree this year.  But today, that all changed. She said,  “We went from making, I mean he was making 30 dollars an hour to zero for a family of five. It means a lot that my kids wake up Christmas morning and have something to open because without it I don’t know what we would have did.”

Major Allison went on to say, “We pray that as your children open those gifts on Christmas day that they will understand and realize in the opening of those presents just how much God has opened his heart and his love to all mankind so that whosover will, may be saved.”  And Jody Gettys said, “even this morning I was walking into the building and I passed a mom, looked like a single mom she was all by herself. And I saw the smile on her face as she rolled that grocery cart out full of brand new toys, not used toys but brand new toys. And I couldn’t help but think about the dignity she had now as a single mom or as a mom to be able to hand those gifts to her children. They’re not going to know they were a hand-out they’re going to know that mom was able to give us Christmas. Santa Clause came.”

And after they finished filling their carts with gifts, everyone received a full bag of groceries from Operation Blessing. Jody Gettys explained, “The Salvation Army has asked us to provide food for 5000 families. So behind me you see bags of groceries filled with everything for Christmas dinner so that these families can enjoy not only giving Christmas to their kids but sitting around the table enjoying a Christmas lunch or dinner together.” Karen Stevens was very grateful, “I’m absolutely very thankful, very thankful to everybody and anyone who was able to help and donate it is a true blessing.”

Jody Gettys concluded, “We couldn’t do what we do at CBN around the world and right here at home if it wasn’t for the benevolence of our partners. So for those of you who are part of the CBN family, thank you so much because we couldn’t make Christmas possible if it wasn’t for your generosity, your love and your support.”



41 gold coins found in Frederick Salvation Army donation kettles

41 gold coins found in Frederick Salvation Army donation kettles

Lt. Chris Raymer, who is with the Salvation Army in Frederick, holds 41 gold coins that were found in two bell ringers’ red kettles Friday. Matt Lerner, owner of the Frederick Coin Exchange, was responsible for the gold donation. The coins are valued at about $130 each.

Like every holiday season, local Salvation Army volunteers have been deployed around Frederick, ringing bells and collecting donations tossed into their iconic red kettles.

The Salvation Army in Frederick was behind in its fundraising goal this year, until a Christmas surprise appeared in two of the kettles.

Salvation Army officers counting donations collected at the Wal-Mart on Monocacy Boulevard found a gold coin in one of their kettles, according to Lt. Chris Raymer.

 They then opened another kettle and found 40 more gold coins.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” Raymer said.

Matt Lerner, owner of the Frederick Coin Exchange, was responsible for the gold donation.

The Salvation Army in Frederick has a long history of receiving gold coins in their red kettles. For years, an anonymous donor dropped a gold coin in one of the kettles each holiday season.

Lerner, who opened the Frederick Coin Exchange in 2009, started donating gold coins in 2010 to the Salvation Army. Ever since, Lerner has donated at least one coin to the season fundraising campaign. In 2011, the business owner donated $9,000 worth of South African gold krugerrand coins.

gold coin worth $1,255 in Reno Salvation Army kettle

Gold coin worth $1,255 dropped in Reno Salvation Army kettle

RENO — The Salvation Army confirmed that a 1979 Krugerrand gold coin was dropped in a kettle at a Walmart in Reno this week.

The one-ounce gold coin is worth $1,255, said Allen Rowe, president of Northern Nevada Coin. The coin is not particularly rare but it is literally worth its weight in gold. The Krugerrand is gold bullion. In the 1970s, mints produced millions of them, he said.

Last Christmas season, another gold 1979 Krugerrand coin was put into the kettle. And in 2015, two rare coins were each wrapped in $100 bills, each valued at about $550.

“I’m shocked and pleased to have this blessing in our red kettle.” Major Charles Fowler, Washoe County Salvation Army Reno corps coordinator, said in a news release. “We find unusual items in our kettles from time to time. Most have no value.”

Some of those things are pocket lint, screws, washers, game tokens, foreign coins, Alcoholics Anonymous chips, batteries, angels, pills, gum wrappers, staples, earrings, women’s rings, bracelets, a Navy souvenir coin and keys.

“This one, however, is a tremendous boost to the bell ringing campaign,” according to Fowler. “Whoever this donor is, I just want to say thanks for the helping us and this community.”

The Red Kettle campaign is currently down 13% compared with the income raised last Christmas season, according to the Salvation Army. The Reno Corps set a $285,000 goal for this year.

Donations collected in the Salvation Army kettles help support local programs like the Christmas assistance program, year-round food assistance and other social services and youth programs.

Lodi Salvation Army

Lodi Salvation Army graduates 20th culinary arts class in 10 years

Friends and family gathered at the Lodi Salvation Army’s Hope Harbor Center on Tuesday evening to congratulate their loved ones who have completed the Salvation Army’s four-month culinary arts program, marking the 20th class in the program’s 10 years of existence.

Snacking on bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds and miniature beef Wellingtons, consisting of morsels of filet mignon topped with pureed mushrooms inside of a flaky puff pastry, the graduates and their families mingle with alumni from the class, past and future employers of some of the graduates as well as the program’s teacher, Chef Barry Crall.

Before enrolling in the class, prospective students must first graduate from the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Sacramento, according to Crall. Once they have completed that program, the students become eligible for the 16-week culinary arts training, which Crall finds deeply rewarding.

“I love seeing the light come on and watching them get a job, so they don’t have to fall back on what they did in the past. It’s an opportunity to change their lives,” Crall said.

The program also provides the students with opportunities to serve others while improving their own lives, such as donating meals to those affected by fires in Butte, Jackson, Napa and Yuba over the years, according to Crall.

“We served 750 meals twice a day in Jackson, breakfast and dinner, cooked here in this kitchen,” Crall said.

Since the program’s inception, 132 students have graduated, with 92 percent of them finding work at restaurants such as Wine and Roses, Coco’s, Richmaid and more. Joe Yaskovic is one such graduate, who completed the program’s sixth class in November 2010 after being referred by ARC Sacramento, where he now works as the kitchen supervisor.

“I loved the actual book learning, getting to know all the technical aspects of cooking. It was great having such an experienced instructor who knows all the ins and outs of restaurants, Barry Crall is an integral part of my success at ARC. I worked in franchise restaurants for several years before I came here, and now I’m the kitchen supervisor at Arc in Sacramento, in charge of feeding 90 men in rehabilitation. If you have a passion for it, follow it, it’s very rewarding and the passion will pay off,” Yaskovic said.

Raymond Luna, one of the four most recent graduates, enjoyed every aspect of the program, learning culinary techniques and terminology, different types of cuts, plate design and more. Although he has not found a job yet, he is currently exploring multiple options. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to succeed, and offered a bit of advice to those considering enrolling in the class.

“Stay focused, be clear in your decisions on what you want to do. Enjoy the experience and treat it as an opportunity for life learning. You only get out what you put into it. Thank you to the Salvation Army for the opportunity they gave me and the encouragement they provided, and of course thank God. It’s a whole new direction in life, so of course I want to thank God for the opportunity,” Luna said.

Brian McRavin, another graduate, learned about the program after graduating from ARC in Paris, Calif., and enjoyed learning proper cooking techniques, as he said he has always had a passion for cooking.

“I make a mean burger, I love cooking steak, smoked chicken, that sort of thing. One of my favorite dishes is cheese pork medallions, which I made for dinner tonight. If you have the passion for it, if you want to do it, then do it. Don’t hesitate,” McRavin said.

As Hope Harbor’s kitchen staff put the final touches on dinner, Maj. Mark Thielenhaus explained that similar culinary arts classes have begun in Napa and Sacramento, before Pam Kludt, who volunteers with both fundraising and the program’s steering committee, approached the podium to address the guests.

“We are so pleased to have another graduation this evening. It’s unbelievable for us on the committee to think that we’ve had this program for 10 years, it’s amazing,” Kludt said.

After Kludt’s introduction and prayer of invocation, Salvation Army volunteer Patricia Fehling offered her own words of congratulations and encouragement to the graduates.

“It’s such an exciting time for us. You’d think that after 10 years and 20 classes, we might be a little ho-hum about this, but, believe me, it’s never ho-hum around here, and that’s because of our students. I really congratulate every one of you. I’ve been with you, I’ve seen your struggles, I’ve seen your successes. My hear is so full of joy for each of you, and I know that your hearts are full of joy as well,” Fehling said.

Following the meal of cheese pork medallions with a mustard horseradish sauce, fingerling potatoes and oven-roasted butternut squash, Thielenhaus began the graduation ceremony. He thanked God for the success of the program and its students, before reflecting upon how often food and fellowship are referenced together in the Bible, from the first Passover to the Last Supper, as well as how often the Salvation Army eats during its meetings.

“My mother-in-law has a saying about the Salvation Army: ‘We’re not meeting if we’re not eating.’ Some of you may know from one of our songs, ‘With sword and shield, we take the field,’ well, sometimes with fork and shield we take the field,” Thielenhaus said.

Thielenhaus then read a passage from John 6, in which Jesus fed approximately 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, sharing lessons he learned form the Bible passage with the graduates such as using the resources available to them, sharing what they have with others and making relationships a priority before helping Crall present graduation certificates and medals with red and gold ribbon to the four graduates.

Kludt then concluded the ceremony by thanking the City of Lodi for its generosity, as well as the Cortopassi Family Foundation for donating $250 to each graduate, as well as $1,000 to the program for each person that graduates.