Salvation Army, DMG Foods is a platform for their efforts on workforce development, nutrition and food education. DMG stands for...

Inside DMG Foods, the Salvation Army’s grocery store in Harwood

Earlier this spring, the Salvation Army opened its first-ever grocery store, DMG Foods, in Harwood, a new direction for their mission being tried out right here in Baltimore.

“Because the Salvation Army has always been involved in food delivery,” explains Maj. Gene Hogg, “it seemed like a natural progression to try to fit into a larger sustainability program on food insecurity within the food desert.”

Hogg, who is a Central Maryland area commander for the Salvation Army, along with his wife Rebecca, says he’s not aiming to make the most money or use the store as a “fundraising mechanism.” But it’s not a food aid program either.

For Hogg and the Salvation Army, DMG Foods is a platform for their efforts on workforce development, nutrition and food education. DMG stands for “Doing the Most Good,” the motto of the Christian service organization.

“We don’t anticipate making a profit,” Hogg says. “And if there’s any money left on the table, then that goes over to another program we offer in the Maryland area called Catherine’s Cottage,” a standalone program for women who have been rescued from human trafficking.

The hope is that people in a roughly quarter-mile radius of DMG will no longer have to take a long bus ride to reach a discount grocery store. The closest Aldi is about six miles away.

“When you’re living in the suburbs, that doesn’t feel like a very long way,” Hogg says. “But when you’re living in an inner city and you have to rely on public transportation, that can be a trip.”

And the prices at DMG are lower than at conventional grocery stores. Read our price comparison of common items at DMG, Safeway, and Aldi here.

Another aim of the store is what Hogg calls the 360 effect.

“You come in the door, you see a meal solution,” he says, referring to the pre-made meal plans DMG is working on. An electronic kiosk already in place will supply pricing and nutritional information. With help from local chefs and culinary students, they hope to have samples of the meals available to try.

“You taste it, you get the menu… We select one of those menus and the chef will show you how to cook it and how to present it. And then maybe you’ll take that home and cook it in your house. Because one of the goals is to strengthen the family table. One of the strongest anchors of family is the dinner table.”

One area where DMG does dabble in direct food aid is through a partnership with the Maryland Food Bank. Under the agreement, customers who self-identify as recipients of SNAP or other food subsidy programs when they sign up for the store’s loyalty card get a different kind of card. It looks the same as the normal loyalty card, but when you scan it on the electronic kiosk, a window pops up with items from the food bank that the customer can take for free.

“I can get 10 pounds of chicken out once a month to those families,” Hogg says. “That’s five dinners.”

What’s on the shelves now is DMG’s “first best guess,” based on the market studies they did. But as shoppers start to come in and become regulars, the store is changing what it offers. It’s already added Goya products and tofu to the lineup, Hogg says, “and we think the next step will be bulk food items.”

Director of Social Services Robert Galan says bridge stands for Building Resilience in Discipline, Growth and Empowerment.

Salvation Army’s Bridge Program helps women get back on track

SAN ANTONIO — A new initiative (Bridge) taken on by San Antonio’s Salvation Army is helping women get back on their feet.

“Coming here was just like a wakeup call to me. What brought me over here was a bad relationship. I went through so much. My daughter got taken away because of that and I didn’t know where else to go,” said Salvation Army Bridge program participant Mary Rocha.

Like so many women Mary Rocha doesn’t know where she’d be without the Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Shelter. Now, thanks to a newly implemented program in San Antonio called Bridge, she’s taking her future into her own hands.

Director of Social Services Robert Galan says it stands for Building Resilience in Discipline, Growth and Empowerment.

“Unfortunately, what was happening was people were staying here for a certain number of days, and leaving in the same position in which they got here,” Galan said.

Bridge allows women like Rocha to extend their stay based on setting and meeting goals.

For $87.50 a week, women receive three hot meals a day, a clean place to sleep and shower, a secure place to keep their things and access to help finding employment and services.

Rocha is an example of the program working.

“I do restorative aid, I assist with physical therapy. The two things I look forward to every day is my job and coming here. I’m really serious about getting my life together. They’ll be there for me one-hundred percent. That’s where I’m at right now. I’m only one step away from getting my apartment, somewhere I can finally call home,” Rocha said.

“One-hundred percent of the monies that are received in program service fees go towards this shelter,” Galan said.

Rocha is looking forward to getting her life back and sharing it with her daughter.

“My daughter is excited and she’s happy for me and proud of me. She got a full paid scholarship for nursing. It’s not just a shelter they provide. There’s so many programs that they have here to help out people that are struggling and willing to get back on their feet,” Rocha said.

A will to succeed and the guidance to make it happen.

Salvation Army captain goes on search-and-rescue mission after the storm. Ward’s contributions weren’t over once the waters receded.

Salvation Army captain goes on search-and-rescue mission after the storm

The boat already carried great meaning before the storm of Hurricane Harvey.

It had been passed down through three generations of men, a family heirloom bearing cherished memories of father-son fishing trips. Its significance would rise with the rain.

As the commanding officer of the Salvation Army’s Houston Northwest Corps, Capt. Jay Ward was prepared to serve in the relief effort once Harvey passed, but plans changed when his 18-year-old son Christian read messages of despair on the Nextdoor app. The people in distress were less than two miles away.

“Dad, we’ve got a boat,” Christian said. “We have to go help.”

The Salvation Army of Maryland is deploying some of its officers to Texas to help with the relief effort from Hurricane Harvey. The Salvation Army in Maryland is gearing up to send 12 officers to Texas.

Media: WBAL

So, wearing athletic shorts and tennis shoes with no socks, they headed out into the floodwaters.

Ward recalls a man waving from his second-story window with a look of desperation. Inside his home, a flat screen television hung on the wall, framed photographs decorated the mantle. Everything appeared normal, except for the three feet of water and their floating furniture.

“It was a really odd feeling,” Ward said. “If you didn’t look down, you would never know that his house was full of water.”

Ward and his son used the family boat to rescue that man, plus 40 more people and 10 dogs over the next two days last August.

Ward’s contributions weren’t over once the waters receded. His church and community center became the Salvation Army’s first incident command post in Houston. Volunteers from all over the country met there to coordinate canteen, hydration and spiritual counseling services.

In a month’s time, the organization would serve nearly 1 million meals by way of 90 mobile canteens throughout Texas.

“We are not a search-and-rescue organization,” said Alexis Thompson, director of development at the Salvation Army of Greater Houston. “But Captain Ward jumped in and knew that he had to do something.”

“Our mission is to meet human needs without discrimination, and he did that in his own way.”

The 21st General for the 21st Century. On May 24, Commissioner Brian Peddle was elected the 21st General of The Salvation Army during the 2018 High Council.

The Salvation Army 21st General for the 21st Century

On May 24, Commissioner Brian Peddle was elected the 21st General of The Salvation Army during the 2018 High Council. Following the conclusion of the High Council, the General-elect was interviewed by Lt-Colonel Brian Venables, communications secretary at International Headquarters, reflecting on his new role and responsibilities.

We have a very good outline of your history with The Salvation Army, but we want to know a little bit about you. What excites you? What gets you up in the morning? What makes your day?

What gets me up in the morning? Sleep and rest are a necessity but engaging a new day comes easy. I wake with three thoughts … First, I hope the family is OK, then I hope the Army is OK and finally I hope the world is OK – and all before you make the first coffee – through a check on social media. As an international leader I am keenly aware that while I am finishing my day, half the world is just beginning. The idea and thought that The Salvation Army is a 24/7 reality is quite intriguing. As never before, I am aware that the sun never sets on The Salvation Army flag.

Commissioner Brian Peddle delivers a message at the Mobilize—Newfoundland and Labrador congress in July 2017

What excites me is the ongoing reality that people are engaged in mission, and the vibrant activity of the Army continues … the gospel is being preached, suffering humanity is being served, strategies are being planned, schools opening for children, a mobile clinic rolls into a needy community, or a meal is served. What gets me up in the morning is knowing that the Army has not been sleeping – it’s a living organism and I engage with it as soon as I wake. I find that quite inspiring.

Do you hear lots of good stories?

My inspiration comes from the good stories that arrive reminding me that the world is small and very interactive. I am privileged and daily I am aware of an Army that is using its spiritual footprint in the world to the fullest extent. I never cease to be amazed at what God is doing. There are also many days when I am concerned about, and praying for, some part of the Army world where there is conflict, or there is a natural disaster, or some of our people are at risk. We are serving in 128 countries and almost without exception, a news headline draws attention to the fact our people are there as well, sometimes serving in the midst of their own tragedy. That’s the volatility of the world that we live in. I think there is lots of room, not only to celebrate God’s faithfulness but also to pray through some of the challenges faced by people and the circumstances that surround them.

What relationships do you value the most?

I thank God every day for my growing relationship with him. I am simply aware of his presence and a journey that remains an adventure with the Almighty. I am presently understanding what it means to live in this world and still do so with an active consciousness of God’s presence. Family comes next. My wife, Rosalie, has been a central focus for 40 years and for all of that time we have shared a ministry partnership that’s been incredibly rich. Of course, we are both preoccupied with the broader family and the interaction with two daughters, sons-in-laws and five grandchildren. Our day usually ends with FaceTime as they get home from school or are heading out to evening events. The best time of the day is when the screen comes alive and I hear the words: “Poppy, I have something to show you.” We stay connected even though we are not together often. I might admit and put out there as a caution to all that sometimes life moves so fast that personal needs are challenging. We are very conscious about making time for others.

That’s quite a commitment.

Well, they’re all important!

How did you come to The Salvation Army?

That was an interesting time in the life of my family. I credit my Mom and Dad, who were not Salvationists, but were a bit uncomfortable with things that were happening in their local church. In obedience to God they started to go to the Army and sometimes I would go along. Early in that experience they found a really good place in the Army where they were welcomed and embraced. Before I knew it, WE were attending!

I was immediately taken by the music, by vibrant preaching … I would even now remember the animated and enthusiastic preaching and strangely I remember testimonies. I was used to a very quiet, formal liturgical experience.

I admit I was attracted, pulled in and warmly welcomed and embraced by corps officers and people who displayed God’s love and genuine interest in us. A month ago I had the privilege of going back to that corps, Trinity Bay South, in Dildo, N.L., to lead the 125th anniversary celebrations. All I can say is that God is faithful.

So, there were other opportunities to be engaged besides family worship. Were you involved in the music sections or corps cadets?

No, I’ve missed most of that by not showing up until I was 14-15 years of age. I had skipped some of these formative things that many of our Salvationists get to enjoy as kids growing up in the Army. Strangely that was never an issue. I soon became a soldier and without a lot of time in between was sensing a call to officership and not to be dismissive. The rest is history as I now get to lead this incredible Army that gave me space and a spiritual home as an uncertain teenager.

Read Entire Article here…

Friday, June 1, marks the official start of the 2018 Hurricane season. The Salvation Army stands ready to serve if needed. Mobile feeding units

The Salvation Army Prepares for 2018 Hurricane Season

Atlanta, GA – Friday, June 1, marks the official start of the 2018 Hurricane season. The Salvation Army stands ready to serve if needed. Mobile feeding units are in place to respond and serve first responders and disaster survivors at a moment’s notice.  Trained disaster workers and volunteers are prepared to provided physical, emotional and spiritual support.

During the devastating 2017 hurricane season, The Salvation Army responded with one of the largest disaster relief operations in its history, second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  In response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory and Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams from across the United States and Canada deployed to Texas, Florida and Georgia, providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to survivors and first responders.

Hurricane Harvey Response

On August 24, 2017, The Salvation Army began deploying resources in response to Hurricane Harvey’s devastation and continued to offer meals, beverages and bulk items such as food boxes and clean-up kits across thirty-five Texas counties effected by the storm and to evacuees across the state and region. At the peak of the disaster response, The Salvation Army served over 900,000 meals from 96 mobile feeding units.

The Salvation Army provided:

  • 929,868 meals to survivors and first responders
  • 997,541 drinks and 977,553 snacks
  • Emotional and spiritual care to 58,318 individuals
  • 58,369 food boxes, 15,828 clean up kits and 108,344 comfort kits
  • 96 mobile feeding units at the peak response
  • Over 2 million hours of employee and volunteer service

Hurricane Harvey Long-Term Recovery Efforts

The Salvation Army continues to support the hardest hit areas of Texas by assisting individuals and families on the long road to recovery.  Through the work of a robust team of caseworkers, The Salvation Army has been able to help more than 16,000 clients and provide over $6 million in direct assistance to date.  Establishing partnerships with local community advocacy groups and churches have extended the reach of The Salvation Army’s ability to give assistance and needed supplies especially to those historically underserved and families in rural communities.

The Salvation Army also continues to distribute products donated by individuals and corporations, receiving in-kind gifts at its disaster warehouse in Arlington, Texas. These goods are sorted and disseminated to eight distribution locations in the affected area to make items available to people in need. Nearly $5 million worth of goods have been distributed to date.

Hurricane Irma Response

Preparations for the response to Hurricane Irma began before the storm made landfall by pre-staging mobile feeding units, other resources and aiding evacuees.  Once the storm had passed, 101 mobile feeding units were deployed during the response phase to provide over 375,000 meals to first responders and survivors throughout south and western Florida, including the Florida Keys and the coastal areas of South Georgia.

In Florida and Georgia, The Salvation Army provided:

  • 384,000 meals to survivors and first responders
  • 544,000 drinks and 342,532 snacks
  • Emotional and spiritual care to 28,382 individuals
  • 26,678 food boxes, 4,682 clean up kits and 24,258 comfort kits were distributed
  • 101 mobile feeding units at the peak response
  • Over 1.4 million hours of employee and volunteer service

Hurricane Irma Long-Term Recovery Efforts

The Salvation Army’s long-term recovery efforts continue in Florida where the charity is operating Disaster Assistance Centers in Naples and Ft. Meyers where disaster survivors can receive help navigating local, state, and federal assistance programs available to rebuild homes.  These centers also provide financial assistance, vouchers and various items such as toiletries, household supplies, water, and food to survivors.  Several long-term recovery initiatives are set to begin, including a multi-state partnership with The Home Depot to purchase building materials to provide building assistance.

The Salvation Army of Georgia is committed to sustaining long-term recovery efforts throughout the state in cooperation with partner agencies. Six disaster case workers have been hired and trained to reach out to those in Georgia impacted by the hurricanes. To date, these disaster case workers have closed 63 Hurricane Irma related cases and are working on another 63 cases. In addition, both the Georgia and Florida Division continue to provide support to evacuees from Hurricane Maria who have relocated from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other areas of the Caribbean.

As the 2018 hurricane season begins, The Salvation Army reminds everyone to be prepared.  A single storm can cause catastrophic damage and even a relatively weak storm can bring tremendous rain and cause life-threatening flooding.  Now is the time for families to develop a family disaster plan, to collect a kit of essential emergency supplies, and if you live in an area likely to be evacuated, to develop an evacuation plan and consider where you will relocate to and how.

Commissioner Brian Peddle Elected General of The Salvation Army

Commissioner Brian Peddle Elected General of The Salvation Army

The 19th High Council has elected Commissioner Brian Peddle to be the General of The Salvation Army.

On the day voting would begin to elect the 21st General of The Salvation Army it was symbolic that the morning began with the worldwide prayer meeting. Led by the Chaplain (Commissioner Mark Tillsley, International Headquarters) the five zones into which the international Army is divided administratively became a focus for prayer, naming specific requests where appropriate. Each time the focus changed the members of the zone being lifted up to God were encircled by their fellow council members. These moments of prayer concluded with the chorus Bless them Now.

At the beginning of the day’s business the President (Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton, International Headquarters) took a few moments to acknowledge and thank the support staff: translators, IT support, secretariat staff and recorders – a sentiment endorsed by the council with appreciative applause.

As with the answers to the questionnaires on the previous day, the speeches from the four candidates were delivered without interruption and there followed no expression of approval or dissent. The drawing of lots again determined the order in which the candidates gave their speeches, which were received in silence. The council then adjourned.

The Chaplain led the council in singing song 975 from The Song Book of The Salvation ArmySalvation! O the Joyful Sound! before Commissioner Devon Haughton (Territorial Commander, Caribbean Territory) read from Acts 7:51-60. Drawing on these verses and directing his thoughts to the candidates, but suggesting they were for all present in the chamber, the Chaplain spoke of the need for holy boldness. In this story of Stephen he noted also the heavenly assurance he received and finally that, despite everything, Stephen continued to have a heartache for humanity. The council joined in the song To be Like Jesus, with its emphasis on “His Spirit helping me …” before prayer was offered by Commissioner Yvonne Westrupp (Territorial President of Women’s Ministries, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory.)

Then followed the election process, undertaken in silence as a solemn and sacred duty, resulting in the election of Commissioner Brian Peddle as the 21st General of The Salvation Army.

After the General-Elect was announced, Commissioner Peddle addressed those in attendance at the High Council and those watching worldwide via livestream: “It is absolutely a pleasure to stand before you today and acknowledge the confidence the High Council has placed in myself and Commissioner Rosalie. We are overwhelmed to say the least, but deeply honoured and feeling somewhat unworthy of the momentous task ahead of us.

“We stand so eager for God to move in a new way among us … We pray that The Salvation Army internationally will now move from strength to strength and that God almighty will bless us in an incredible way as we move forward into the future.”

Salvation Army Honours General and Commissioner Cox at Farewell Meeting

Salvation Army Honours General and Commissioner Cox at Farewell Meeting

“Personal” is not the first word that springs to mind when describing a big event in central London, but the Welcome to the High Council and Farewell to General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) managed to be spectacular and yet highly personal. The General’s message that every person can change the world if they give themselves over to God was backed up by stories from the international leaders’ lives that demonstrated how, through service and sacrifice, they have made a personal impact around the world that will last long after they retire in August.

The event, in Central Hall, Westminster, began in a lively fashion, with a fanfare from the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Household Division of the British Army, resplendent in red tunics and bearskin hats. The congregation rose to welcome the General and Commissioner Cox, who were followed into the hall by the 108 members of the 2018 High Council.

The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Brian Peddle, welcomed the congregation to the “best ticket in town” – a nod to the royal wedding which had just taken place about 25 miles to the west.

The General turned to face the members of the High Council, who were seated behind the stage, to charge them to consider carefully the “sacred purpose” of electing the next General. He told them it was “time to cast aside any personal opinions,” adding: “God does not always work in the way we expect.”

Music played an important role in the meeting, from lively pre-meeting contributions by the International Staff Band (ISB), International Staff Songsters (ISS) and Boscombe Timbrels to pieces that brought about an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation.

This mix of styles was demonstrated when the hushed atmosphere after The Prayer was sung by Gemma Hinchliffe, accompanied by the ISS and trumpeter Simon Cox (nephew of the General and Commissioner Cox), was followed immediately by the lively singing, dancing and drumming of African Praise, a British group made up of Salvationists from Zimbabwe and other African countries. The African influence – appropriate for the farewell to The Salvation Army’s first Africa-born General – was felt throughout the afternoon, including some extra-loud cheers when African leaders marched onto the stage!

“If I Were the General …” gave opportunity to three young people to offer their thoughts on what a General should be and do. Daniel Rose and Joel Lalhmingliana – featuring in a video presentation – came up with innovations such as giving out chocolate bars to encourage people to attend worship, allowing trombones to play at double forte and keeping sermons to four minutes long! Addressing the congregation in the hall, Emma Góchez considered some ideas for making Army uniforms more practical and fashionable but also spoke about the importance of using teenagers already in The Salvation Army to help other teens who were struggling. “We need to let more light into this dark world,” she said.

An African-style arrangement of They Shall Come from the East, They Shall Come from the West began with playing singing by some of the ISB and then grew to take in the whole congregation, with drumming and dancing from African Praise.

This was followed by a prayer and Bible reading given by the writer of the original music to the song, Retired General John Larsson, who prayed that High Council members would receive “a generous supply of wisdom that comes from above.”

Consecrated Service was a new piece by Bandmaster Richard Phillips, written as a musical tribute to the General and Commissioner Cox. Featuring the ISB, ISS, Gemma Hinchliffe, Simon Cox, African Praise and Boscombe Timbrels, the work took the listener on a journey through the term of office of the General, from the early sacred moments following election through to their taking the message of being a consecrated, mobilized people around the world, all using well-known Salvation Army songs.

Tributes to the retiring leaders were paid by two members of the High Council. Commissioner Margaret Siamoya (Territorial Commander, Zambia) thanked the Coxes for showing Spiritual leadership. She complimented the “dancing General” (“when you visited Africa!”) on his championing of the Accountability Movement, his leadership at the International Congress in 2015 and the introduction of The Whole World Mobilising initiative which she said has had a great impact in her territory.

The commissioner paid tribute to “Mama” Silvia’s impact on souls and particularly her advocacy for women’s development.

Commissioner Massimo Paone (Territorial Commander, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary) spoke about how the General and Commissioner Cox had embraced their roles with “commitment, passion and energy.” He made a particular point to highlight the example that the leaders had made in working closely as a team, saying that this type of joint ministry could be seen as The Salvation Army’s “secret treasure.”

It wasn’t all good news, however. Thanking the international leaders for choosing to retire in Switzerland, he warned them: “From August 3, I will be your territorial commander” and said that he expected them to be coach and mentor to him and his wife … “and I won’t take no for an answer!”

A video put together by the Coxes’ family showed how the international leaders has kept in touch over the past five years while visiting every Salvation Army territory and command. Their children and grandchildren received a postcard from every country they visited, along with a selection of gifts. Some of the grandchildren made their way onto the stage to return the favour, with Sarah Makanjera – one of the General and Commissioner Cox’s three daughters – saying that the next appointment was “as full-time grandparents.”

In response, Commissioner Cox spoke about the “immense” privilege that has been hers and that she was “thankful for the adventures.” She told the congregation that she could never imagined how a shy person who was scared of flying could have done what she has over the past five years, travelling all over the world to speak to crowds that sometimes contained several thousand people. Through everything, she added, she has “learned to trust God.”

She said that she had been aware of the power of prayer, which she knew had been supporting her, and paid tribute to the support she had also received from her husband, who she described as “such a wonderful man” – to the delight of the congregation!

Stirring songs from the ISS, More than Wonderful and All Rise (including soloist Kerry Sampson), led into the congregation singing of Holy, Holy, Holy before a video presentation reminded the congregation of the General’s “I Dream” statements that had underpinned his whole term of office, focusing on The Salvation Army he wanted to see – an accountable, mobilized Army that gave young people a voice.

The General took up the last “dream” statement, then told the congregation – and thousands of people watching the live stream online – that he had been delighted to see some aspects of his dream become reality.

He acknowledged the support he has received as General, from the prayers of Salvationists worldwide to the way that he and Commissioner Cox have been “released” by their family.

Far from being satisfied, however, he warned: “The Salvation Army around the world has the potential to be so much more!” And while he acknowledged that there are successes, he pointed out that when things are going well, it can become easy to stop relying on God. “Woe to us,” he challenged, “if we ever forget the Lord in our Army.”

He told his listeners not to allow compromise to take hold, and to avoid being taken in by the spirit of the world. Asking: “Do we rely on ourselves or do we rely on God’s strength?,” the General pointed out that “the light of our lives can sometimes be diminished by compromise,” and yet “the world in which we live is desperate to see light and hope.”

Referring to Joy Webb’s song The Candle of the Lord, which talks about taking the light of God to the darkest places of society, the General called on everyone listening to join him in saying: “Lord, light me so I can make a difference in the world.”

There followed sacred moments as the ISS sang the song referred to by the General. People moved from the congregation to kneel at the mercy seat in front of the stage. Some members of the High Council moved to speak to the seekers while others quietly stood from their seats, in an attitude of prayer and solidarity.

The General challenged the congregation to “stand and make this song your prayer,” which brought a unanimous response from everyone present. Following the meeting online, many people added comments such as “Amen,” “Praise God” and “Lord, light me.” (At time of writing, the stream had been watched live or on catch-up more than 40,000 times.)

The meeting finished in spectacular, joyful style with O Boundless Salvation!, the song known as the Founder’s Song and, as explained by the Chief of the Staff, “A bit of an anthem for us!”

As the congregation gave a full-throated rendition of the seven verses, the music groups that had taken part joined in one by one, including the fanfare trumpeters who stood on the balcony, and officers from International Headquarters who waved flags, until the final verse, “And now, Hallelujah, the rest of my days shall gladly be spent in promoting thy praise,” reached a glorious conclusion, followed by a long, spontaneous round of applause.

The congregation may have come to pay tribute The Salvation Army’s international leaders and welcome the group that will choose the next General, but they left having praised God and committed themselves – on a very personal level – to being a light for God in the darkest places of the world.

See more photos from the event on the IHQ Flickr site.

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.”

A person who makes gifts to children, grandchildren or other heirs will be tax on the fair market value of the gift. The first part of the gift..

Planned Giving: Gift Tax Surprise

Bill: “Every year I pay income tax. And when I pass away my estate will owe tax. But I was absolutely stunned today to hear that I might even have to pay a gift tax! Do you mean that if I give this land to my children, there is yet another tax?”

CPA Carol: “Yes, Bill, there could be a gift tax. You can make small gifts like birthday gifts without tax. But if you give a large property to your children during your lifetime, there could be a gift tax. And it may be as much as 40% of the value.”

WHY DID CONGRESS PASS A GIFT TAX?

Following the passage of the estate tax, Congress realized that a gift tax is also necessary. If there were no gift tax, creative CPAs and estate attorneys would urge their clients to make deathbed gifts. Rather than waiting until they pass away and paying estate tax, if there were no gift tax the transfer tax could be entirely avoided by making death-bed gifts.

As a result, Congress determined that it needed to pass a gift tax in order to make the estate tax effective. Now, even if a person makes gifts on their death-bed the tax will be payable on the transfer to children.

HOW DOES GIFT TAX WORK?

A person who makes gifts to children, grandchildren or other heirs will be taxed on the fair market value of the gift. The first part of the gift is allocated to the annual exclusion. But if the gift is more than that amount, then the cumulative gifts over the donor’s lifetime are added up and compared with the lifetime gift exemption. If your total gifts (over annual exclusions) during your lifetime exceed the gift exemption, then you must pay gift tax.

WHAT IS THE ANNUAL EXCLUSION?

When the gift tax was first created, Congress understood that parents give birthday gifts and other small gifts to children, grandchildren and other heirs. As a result, Congress decided that there would need to be an exclusion for these smaller gifts. The exclusion was $3,000 for many years, then $10,000 and now has increased in value to $14,000. It is adjusted up for inflation about every three years by another $1,000.

HOW MANY ANNUAL EXCLUSIONS CAN I USE?

First, the annual exclusion must be a present interest gift. This means that the child or other recipient must be able to use the property or spend the money.

Each person is permitted one gift exclusion per recipient per year. For example, a mother could give her daughter $14,000 under the gift exclusion in 2017. A mother and father could give a son and daughter-in-law $56,000, because there are two donors times two recipients times the $14,000 exclusion.

A grandmother and grandfather with ten grandchildren could make quite large gifts. If each gives $14,000 to the ten grandchildren, then the total gifts under the exclusion amounts would be $280,000 in one year. Assume that they made that same gift every year for ten years, for a total of $2.8 million. If the grandchildren retain and invest the gifts, at the end of ten years the appreciated value could be between $3.5 million and $4.5 million – and all with zero gift tax and no use of their lifetime gift exemption.

HOW MUCH IS THE LIFETIME EXEMPTION?

Donors will typically first use their available annual exclusions. However, large gifts such as the ranch that Bill contemplates giving to his children may involve use of the gift exemption. The exemption is $5.49 million per person in 2017. After making use of the $14,000 annual exclusion, Bill and his wife, Helen, can each then give $5.49 million in value ($10.98 million total) to children using their lifetime gift exemption.

While there is no tax cost now for using the exemption, it does affect the estate. In future years, there will be a reduced estate exemption. If Bill uses $1 million of his gift exemption, that reduces the future available estate exemption by $1 million.

ARE THERE GIFT DEDUCTIONS?

Yes, there are potential gift deductions for marital gifts, charitable gifts and gifts for medical expenses and tuition.

There is an unlimited gift exclusion for transfers to a spouse. The gifts could be outright or could be in a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust. This is a special marital deduction trust. The spouse receives all the income from the trust and the trust principal can be invaded only for the benefit of the spouse.

A second deduction is for gifts to charity. The donor receives an income tax deduction, but there is also a gift tax deduction so the donor does not have to pay any gift tax on the transfer to charity. Once again, this deduction is unlimited.

A transfer to charity also may be a qualified split-interest transfer. A donor may create a charitable remainder unitrust, charitable remainder annuity trust or pooled income fund gift. The charitable deduction value qualifies for both the income and the gift tax deduction.

Parents and grandparents on occasion will pay the medical bills of a child or grandchild. These gifts are not subject to the gift tax provided the payment is made directly to the medical institution.

Finally, if a parent or grandparent makes tuition payments for a student, those amounts are also not subject to the gift tax.

Salvation Army chief to Trump and Congress: Before work requirements, break poverty cycle

Salvation Army chief to Trump and Congress: Before work requirements, break poverty cycle

For almost 140 years, The Salvation Army has been lifting up Americans in need — the hungry, the homeless, those struggling with addiction, people in every zip code who are challenged by poverty. We have seen firsthand the transformative power of dignified, stable work.

Work is increasingly becoming a requirement for many forms of government assistance, from Medicaid to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, among others. Both the Trump administration and Congress are creating new provisions for work requirements across a broad range of means-tested public assistance programs. Also, a new executive order calls for the consolidation or elimination of federal workforce development programs.

My work at The Salvation Army over the past 40 years has introduced me to some of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met. But many of them are working in low-wage jobs. They face barriers that must be overcome before they can fully enter the labor market. We need to work together — government, nonprofits and businesses — to improve the quantity and quality of work for all.

Many low-skilled workers, the “working poor,” have fluctuating hours, some working more than one part-time job. The ability to consistently log the hours required to qualify for government benefits can be beyond their control. We must encourage businesses to treat these employees fairly by assigning flexible schedules and, in some cases, more hours.

The recently incarcerated are particularly challenged in finding work. Studies show that 60% to 75% of former inmates are unemployed a year after being released. With more than an estimated 85% of employers now conducting background checks, people with felony records may find it nearly impossible to obtain work. Again, we’re collaborating with employers and employees to remove the barriers that many face, once they have served their time.

Two areas need special focus in the coming months and years. First, we need to double down on funding for case management, or holistic assistance to individuals and families based on their unique situations. Case management is a critical component in helping people achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.

 Second, we need creative, pervasive and sustained initiatives focused on education, job skills and workforce development.

The Salvation Army works toward these goals in several ways across the country. In Napa Valley, a culinary training academy helps people who have struggled with homelessness and substance abuse develop kitchen skills and establish meaningful employment in local hospitality industries while instilling professionalism, confidence and dignity. In Minneapolis, The Salvation Army’s Volunteer Aftercare Support Team helps former prison inmates transitioning back into society secure employment. Volunteers provide one-on-one counseling, offering expert advice in the areas of résumé writing, job searching, technology training and career coaching.

Recently in Baltimore, we opened DMG (Doing the Most Good) Foods, The Salvation Army’s first grocery store. Not only will the store meet a desperate need for fresh food in its neighborhood, but also it will train some 80 people a year in the skills of the grocery industry — from food handling and butchering to the logistics of buying and selling fresh, frozen and canned foods. By agreement with the six largest grocers operating in Baltimore, newly trained individuals will be offered employment in for-profit grocery stores thereafter.

We applaud efforts to break the cycles of poverty that entrap millions of Americans over generations. The Salvation Army encourages work as vital and noble. But before requiring work, we must confront the barriers to obtaining it that many Americans face.