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.”

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.

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.

Washington Gas to Host WAFF Ice House Fundraiser

Washington Gas to Host WAFF Ice House Fundraiser

January 18-20 event at Washington Harbour will raise awareness about the experience of living without heat, and seek donations for the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF)

WGL executives and local celebrities will spend time sitting in the WAFF Ice House.

Washington Gas, a WGL Holdings, Inc. company (NYSE: WGL), is joining The Salvation Army, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, AltaGas, NBC4, WTOP, The Washington Post and numerous other partners to promote the critical need for winter heating assistance. The organizations are supporting the first-ever Ice House fundraiser to benefit the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF), which serves thousands of families in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia who struggle to pay their utility bills and are at risk of living in the cold.

The WAFF Ice House will be located at the Washington Harbour in Georgetown from January 18-20. The house, designed and built by Ice Lab,consists of 60 blocks of ice that simulate the difficult conditions faced when a home is without heat. The event will be open to the public from 2 to 8 p.m. on January 18, 2 to 9 p.m. on January 19 and noon to 9 p.m. on January 20 with challenges, contests, entertainment and more to help connect people with WAFF’s mission to warm homes.

The issue of heating assistance has become even more pronounced this year with the colder than normal winter the Washington, D.C., area has been experiencing. Fewer than 2 in 10 people eligible for federal energy assistance actually receive it because there are not enough funds to meet the demand. In addition, families living in poverty spend more than 30 percent of their income on energy bills.

“The need to help our neighbors with heating assistance has never been greater and that’s why we are so committed to raising awareness about this critical issue,” said Adrian Chapman, President and Chief Operating Officer, Washington Gas. “As a company dedicated to caring for our community throughout our 170-year history, we know our neighbors always join us in helping those in need. That’s why we started WAFF 35 years ago and every year, our employees, customers and residents step up to help us keep area families warm.”

WAFF, a philanthropic initiative formed in 1983 by Washington Gas in partnership with The Salvation Army, bridges this assistance gap to provide emergency funds to families, veterans, seniors and others who lack resources to pay their heating bills. Importantly, 100 percent of all donations WAFF receives goes directly to heating assistance because Washington Gas pays all administrative costs to operate the fund.

Local celebrities and executives of WGL companies will sit in the Ice House for 30-minute periods during the days’ activities to help draw attention to the cause and raise funds and awareness about this important issue.

More than 35 companies and individuals have raised $100,000 to date to support this WAFF fundraiser. Supporters include: The Salvation Army, AltaGas, NBC4, WTOP, The Washington Post, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, The American Gas Association, Infrasource, MasterPrint, Washington Harbour, National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition, Accenture, Edison Electric Institute, ASD/SKY, WGL Energy, Miller Pipeline, Northern Pipeline, Kubra, Leftwich LLC, WSP, Washington Gas Light Federal Credit Union, Faneuil, Precision Pipeline, LLC, Williams Meter, Henkels & McCoy, G.S. Proctor & Associates, Inc., FleishmanHillard, Teamsters Local 96, Skoda Contracting, HCL, EN Engineering, Miller’s Office Products and Curran & Connors.


About WAFF

Washington Gas created the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) in 1983 in conjunction with The Salvation Army as its signature philanthropic program. Washington Gas pays for all administrative costs while The Salvation Army assists clients and manages the disbursement of funds through its 12 area offices. This ensures that 100 percent of all donations go to heating assistance. WAFF pays for all types of fuel. Since its inception, WAFF has disbursed nearly $26 million in energy assistance, serving more than 286,000 people. In 2017 alone, more than $773,000 was disbursed to more than 6,000 people. To make a donation or get more information, please go to www.waffhelp.org.

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

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.

Salvation Army Virginia Peninsula Command

Salvation Army corps benefit from Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund

Founded in 1865, the Salvation Army is an international organization that helps about 25 million Americans each year.

The movement is based on the universal Christian church, and helps meet needs by offering a number of services, including disaster relief, hunger relief and housing assistance.

The Salvation Army operates more than 7,500 centers across the nation, two of which benefited from the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund in 2016.

Now in its 89th year, the fund raises money for nonprofit organizations in the Greater Peninsula area. In the 2016 campaign, the holiday fund raised more than $166,000, which was distributed to 23 organizations and nonprofits Nov. 2. Ferguson matches 50 cents for every dollar raised for the first $100,000.

Virginia Peninsula Command

Though the Salvation Army’s Virginia Peninsula Command offers different programs and assistance throughout the year, the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund helps its holiday efforts most.

That includes the Christmas food pantry, winter housing and the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, which allows people to donate Christmas gifts to a specific child.

“It’s something we’ve received for years on end but it allows us to do what we need to do to meet the needs of the community,” Virginia Peninsula Command Lt. Michael Good said of the fund. The Virginia Peninsula Command helps 2,800 children around the Christmas season and 1,300 families, he said.

The Salvation Army’s Virginia Peninsula Command assists families in Newport News, Hampton, York, Poquoson, Gloucester and Mathews.

Williamsburg Corps

Like the Virginia Peninsula Command, the Salvation Army’s Williamsburg Corps helps families the entire year, mostly for emergency services, said Lt. Jeremy Lind of the Williamsburg Corps.

That includes transitional housing, helping with bills and rent.

With the help from the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund, the Williamsburg Corps is able to provide holiday meals to about 520 families — about 900 children and 1,000 seniors, plus adults, Lind said.

The families received that meal this Christmas.

“In my view, that’s so that if they, our clients, don’t have to worry about one meal for Christmas, that’s time they can spend with their families and focusing on the important things of life rather than being in survival mode and thinking ‘where’s my next meal coming from, how am I going to feed my kids,’ ” Lind said.

The Williamsburg Corps received $14,400 from the Daily Press-Ferguson Holiday Fund last year.

Angel behind the 'Angel Tree'

Angel behind the ‘Angel Tree’

WAYNESBORO – Her parents are involved in the Salvation Army, and so was the generation before them.

Helping people and spreading the Christian message of the group comes naturally to Capt. Elyshia Perdieu, although within the Waynesboro corps leadership she is the shy, behind-the-scenes person.

Her husband, Jason, is the other captain, and the one becoming known for outreach like the ambitious marathon bell-ringing sessions outside Walmart.

But it’s “Captain Elyshia” who is one of The News Leader’s chosen 2017 “Newsmakers,” for the outreach she does in the community and the connections she has been building during the five years the couple has lived here.

“I’m the quiet one,” she said.

For “Newsmakers,” each year our newsroom selects members of the community to feature who may not be in the public eye — but are part of the key pool of citizens moving forward the projects and topics our area cares about.

In the Christmas toy drive this year, more than 180 families and 350 children were served through her group’s efforts and partnerships with other local associations such as the Rotary. Kmart and Kate Collins Middle School were two of the places for Angel Trees, where members of the public could take a case with a child’s name and wish list written on a paper ornament tag.

About a fourth of the clients this year for Angel Tree gift and clothing assistance were new, said Perdieu and volunteer Carol “Christmas Carol” Johnson.

The group also provides senior food boxes during the holidays for the elderly, and energy assistance programs during the winter in cooperation with Dominion.

This Waynesboro Salvation Army leader is a News Leader Newsmaker for 2017. William Ramsey/The News Leader

“Need has no season,” Perdieu said. “You might be in a loan office or you might be in Kmart or Kroger, and that person helping you is a person that is in need. A lot of people are living paycheck-to-paycheck right now. And if we didn’t have this program going, some of our families might not have a Christmas.”

Salvation Army 'Angels' deliver joy for hundreds of children

Salvation Army ‘Angels’ deliver joy for hundreds of children

CUMBERLAND — Finding gifts to complete any holiday wish list can be a challenge. Filling hundreds of wish lists takes all year.

“As soon as we finish this Christmas,” Salvation Army Maj. Dianna Blevins said, “we will start working on next Christmas.”

Next to the “Red Kettles,” the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program is the organization’s largest holiday fundraiser. Launched in 1979 in Lynchburg, Virginia, the program has provided needy children from around the country with Christmas gifts for nearly four decades.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” Karen Wells, social services director at Salvation Army, said. “It’s so much fun to go through and see all of the things that the kids are getting, and imagine what it’s going to be like when they open the gifts on Christmas.”

This year, 603 children from Mineral, Hampshire and Allegany counties will have a brighter Christmas thanks to Angel Tree.

“We want to make sure we can give them the best Christmas they’ve ever had,” Blevins said.

Angel Tree candidates must pass an approval process. After the number of eligible children is confirmed, officials will reach out to a variety of local organizations asking them to “adopt an angel.”

“It really is a community driven operation,” Wells said. “People are very generous.”

Churches, nonprofits and private businesses are among some of the Angel Tree donors that receive a small angel-shaped tag featuring the child’s wish list items.

According to Wells, all angels were adopted this year, regardless of the organization losing a major local corporate donor.

“Last year 75 angels were not adopted,” Wells said. “Even without (the company), were able to get all (angels) adopted this year.

“So that tells you that the community is becoming more generous,” she said.

 The Salvation Army will provide for any child (angel) not adopted, as well as purchasing  items if the child’s wish list is not completed by a donor.

“We can’t tell donors how to spend their money,” Wells said. “Anything that we get we are grateful.”

Each child will receive two toys, two necessity items, such as clothing, and a red bag containing stocking stuffers. Some of the most popular toy asks this year include Pokemon, Shopkins and Num Noms.

While most families pick up toys at local distribution sites, officials will deliver to families without transportation.

“The people in Mineral and Hampshire County, we go to them,” Lawrence said, “because a lot of them can’t come to us.

“A lot of those people don’t have transportation, so we go to them.”

Patrick Henry student spends prize money to help the needy

Patrick Henry student spends prize money to help the needy

MARTINSVILLE – Denise Handy, a guidance counselor at Patrick Henry Elementary School, recently witnessed a selfless act of kindness from a fifth grade student.

It all started when the school announced that each class would be collecting goods for both the Community Storehouse and the Salvation Army.

While both recipients of the collected items serve needy families throughout the Martinsville-Henry County community, they each make a notable imprint on the area.

The Community Storehouse, located at 4201 Greensboro Rd. in Ridgeway, serves impoverished people in multiple ways.

The food pantry – stocked by community donations – often houses meats, canned goods, shelf-stable foods and a variety of perishable items for those who would otherwise go without dinner on the table.

The nonprofit also helps children in area schools with a backpack program. At the end of each week, the Community Storehouse provides snacks and kid-friendly meals to students who exhibit a need and rely on school breakfasts and lunches as their main source of nutrients.

Getting people get back on track, the organization also helps clients find temporary jobs and informs individuals about job fairs taking place in the area.

The Salvation Army, located at 603 Memorial Blvd. S. in Martinsville, also helps people in need in the community.

The organization provides food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.

The local branch of the organization also holds a community meal three times a week and serves as a warming shelter for those without a home in extreme temperatures.

When Holden Hendricks, a student in Pamela Draper-Cabiness’s class, heard about the two drives benefiting the local nonprofits, the fifth grader approached Handy with a special request.

MTV 1222 Donation 2
A look at Pamela Draper-Cabiness’s class, who donated the most non-canned goods to benefit the Community Storehouse’s backpack program


Hendricks offered to provide an incentive for his peers to boost the number of donations going to the Salvation Army.

He proposed the idea of a pizza party for the class that brought the most canned goods to school – and offered to pay for the celebratory meal.

“He uses his own money he wins from karate tournaments,” Handy said.

Inspired by the child’s selfless act, Handy also created an incentive for the other food drive.

“Since I knew that the Community Storehouse was struggling and that they serve our students in need with the backpack program, I wanted to collect food items for them as well,” Handy said. “I offered the class that brought in the most non-canned food items an ice cream sundae party as an incentive.”

As donations started to trickle in for each organization, Handy helped keep the drive at the forefront of students’ minds throughout the collection period.

“As I went into the classrooms daily to teach guidance, I taught students about kindness and compassion in relation to helping our community, encouraging them to bring in items,” Handy said.

Students and staff at PHES collected 1,109 cans of food for the Salvation Army and 450 food items for the Community Storehouse’s backpack program.

“Holden’s class did not win the pizza party, but did win the ice cream sundae party for bringing in the most items for the Community Storehouse,” Handy said.

Donna LaPrad’s third grade class and Jamie Earnest’s first grade class tied for the top spot for bringing the most donations to benefit the Salvation Army.

“Holden will provide the pizza for one class and the school will provide pizza for the other winning class, since there were two winners,” Handy said. “Holden was willing to provide pizza for both classes. He is a prime example of ‘not self, but others.’”