Blessed is the One Who is Kind to the Needy
Oct 15, 2019
Written by Ryan Charles Parker
Since the advent of civilization, there has existed the poor and down-trodden. And, since time immemorial, there has existed compassionate, fortunate people to help them. Small acts of kindness, donations, and long-standing organizations have all been employed to do what they can to alleviate the suffering. The Salvation Army is one of the aforementioned organizations.
The Salvation Army is both relevant and old. Its roots lie in the 19th century. As Taylor Poor, Community Ministries Coordinator for the organization, explained to me, “The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth and his wife Catherine during 1865 in the east end of London.”
Noticing the lack of help for the needy from churches, they started The Salvation Army. According to Taylor, the poor “could not connect spiritually if their basic needs were not being met.”
From these humble beginnings, The Salvation Army has grown to do work in more than 130 countries.
And, we are fortunate to have a branch in Red Deer, operating since 1912. The branch has a church and within that structure offers a variety of social assistance programs. Taylor told me their mission statement is to: “share the message of God’s love through practical programs and services to those who come within our sphere of influence.”
How does this work look in a practical way? The organization operates its own food bank. It distributes bread daily. They provide diapers. A serving of 270 bags of food for students who need it. Vouchers for clothing. Community meals on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Weekly services at their church downtown, and many more.
The Salvation Army is able to operate because of two things: donations/fundraising, and volunteers.
In the first case, there are several different ways that the organization raises funds. As Taylor says, “kettles that you see throughout the city at Christmas time is our prime source of income. We have a 5km fun run and a 1km walk called the Santa Shuffle that takes place Dec.7 to raise for the program year round.” The organization also has support from local business.
But all of those initiatives need people to carry them out. This is where the volunteering enters the picture. Anyone that you see at Christmas time working at the kettles is a volunteer. Most of those helping at runs are volunteers. Volunteers lend a hand in community meals.
Anyone can help at The Salvation Army, whether it be many hours of work ringing a bell to solicit donations or giving a small gift like a toy.
Everyone wants the world to be a better place, so regardless of religious affiliation, you must admire the organized effort of The Salvation Army. We are fortunate to have this organization in Red Deer.
For more information and opportunities to help, please visit the site of the Red Deer branch at salvationarmyreddeer.com