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.

Secret Santa Donates $10,000 in Red Kettle

Secret Santa Donates $10,000 in Salvation Army Red Kettle

Some Secret Santa just dropped $10,000 in cash into a Salvation Army Red Kettle outside a Hollywood neighborhood grocery store.

The Salvation Army officers said Thursday the donation was made sometime Wednesday, Dec. 6, at a kettle outside the Fred Meyer store at 3030 N.E. Weidler St. The donation was in $100 bills and is the largest cash contribution in a single Red Kettle bucket in the Portland area.

“Whoever did this knows the good that will come of it,” said Salvation Army Capt. Marcos Marquez, officer of The Salvation Army’s Moore Street Corps. “And while we do not know who put the money in the kettle, since the money was all in cash, they should know that we are very grateful to have received such a generous donation.”

The Salvation Army’s annual six-week fundraiser campaign usually provides enough money to fund about 40 percent of the its services. The religious organization said it had raised a little more than 30 percent of its $750,000 goal.

Group officers said that it was not unusual to find a single $100 in a kettle or two during the campaign. In the past few years, The Salvation Army has reported getting gold coins as donations. But $10,000 in cash in one kettle is unusual, according to the organization.

Gold coin worth more than $1,300 Dropped in Red Kettle

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJLA) – Bells will be ringing and George Hairston will be the joyful man to wish you happy holidays at the Flower Hill Giant Food Store in Gaithersburg.

It’s what he did last week when he noticed something different.

“That day, I noticed this man with a hospital mask on his face. And he had this big thing,” said Hairston, who has been a ringing the bell at the red kettles for the Salvation Army for three years. “And it took time for him to put it in there. You can see the hole is not that big,” he said.

A card was wrapped around a gold coin.

“It says ‘Glory to God in the highest and on Earth, peace, goodwill towards men’,” said Capt. Karl Dahlin with the Salvation Army.

So far, the man in the medical mask is anonymous.

“We’ll be using all of these funds to support our programs that are with emergency assistance programs,” said Dahlin.

The coin says $50 on it, but the real value is in the weight. It’s one ounce of pure gold and it could be worth more than $1,300.

The Salvation Army will hold onto it until after Christmas to see if the donor comes forward. If not, they will cash in the value.

It’s happened before, but this one comes at a good time.

“The statistics say we’re down 13% percent over the same day last year,” said Dahlin.

People dropping in donations are learning about the generosity and hoping others are inspired.

“When someone does something like this, it tells people even the little things matter,” said Luis Orozco, a donor.

SweetFrog Partners with The Salvation Army

SweetFrog Frozen Yogurt Joins Salvation Armys Kettle Drive Campaign

SweetFrog Frozen Yogurtthe nation’s leading frozen yogurt chain, named America’s Best Frozen Yogurt by The Daily Meal, and a Top New Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine, is proudly ringing in the holiday season with a festive feel-good collaboration with The Salvation Army, the organization synonymous with emphasizing the reason for the season.

Throughout the month of December, sweetFrog will join in The Salvation Army Central Virginia’s world renowned Red Kettle campaign. The Kettle Campaign raises funds that support important services in the Greater Richmond area, including shelter, nourishment, youth development programs, homeless prevention, and case work. Lovable mascots Scoop and Cookie will join other energetic sweetFrog volunteers at multiple Kettle locations to promote the Christmas spirit and spearhead support of the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign.

sweetFrog’s CEO, Patrick Galleher, is overjoyed that sweetFrog and The Salvation Army, two organizations whose principles perfectly align, are uniting to help improve the lives of families throughout Richmond.

“sweetFrog was founded on an everlasting commitment to serve our community, not just the best soft-serve premium frozen yogurt, but in the broader sense of being a stalwart supporter of our local charities and organizations,” says Galleher. “The Salvation Army, like sweetFrog, is a group whose mission is motivated by the love of God. It makes perfect sense for us to team up with The Salvation Army Central Virginia, man the Kettle locations, and assist in the effort to generate revenue for the vital programs the Army sponsors all year long.”

In the spirit of the season, sweetFrog will also be in the giving spirit. sweetFrog volunteers manning the Kettle Drive will distribute coupons that will offer guests discounts at participating Richmond-area sweetFrog locations.

In addition to the Kettle Drive, sweetFrog will also promote donations in stores with Kettle Cutout. Guests can purchase Kettle Cutouts at the register, add their name to the provided space, and tape the Cutouts to the yogurt walls. 100% of proceeds go to support The Salvation Army Central Virginia’s efforts.

“I’m proud and extremely excited about this wonderful opportunity with sweetFrog, a company that is so in line with our beliefs and compassion,” says Matt Pochily, Development Director, The Salvation Army Central Virginia. “The cyclical aspect to this partnership, of seeing sweetFrog at Salvation Army Kettle locations and then seeing The Salvation Army in sweetFrog stores, is inspiring. We hope folks greet the sweetFrog kettles with open hearts and support The Salvation Army as well as sweetFrog. I’m grateful of sweetFrog’s openness to this concept.”

For more information about sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt and all menu options, please visit www.sweetfrog.com.

To learn more about sweetFrog Frozen Yogurt franchise opportunities, as well as acquisitions and re-brands, please visit http://sweetfrog.com/franchise.

About sweetFrog Frozen Yogurt:

sweetFrog (http://www.sweetfrog.com) is the fastest growing self-serve frozen yogurt restaurant company in the country. With a wide selection of premium frozen yogurt flavors and fresh toppings choices, sweetFrog was named Best Frozen Yogurt in the USA by The Daily Meal in 2014 and 2016. sweetFrog has over 340 locations and mobile units including retail, mobile trucks and non-traditional locations (such as sporting venues) in twenty-seven states in the U.S, Dominican Republic and Egypt. The company was founded in 2009 and is based in Richmond, Virginia. sweetFrog prides itself on providing a family-friendly environment where customers can enjoy soft-serve frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelato and sorbets with the toppings of their choice. The company was founded on Christian principles and seeks to bring happiness and a positive attitude into the lives of the communities it calls home.