Salvation Army in Williamsburg welcomes new commanding officers

Salvation Army in Williamsburg welcomes new commanding officers

Husband and wife duo, Capt. Julio and Maj. Luci Da Silva, joined the Salvation Army in Williamsburg in late June as the new commanding officers.

The Da Silvas are originally from Brazil and have both served the Salvation Army for more than two decades in the United States and internationally, including in Africa, England and Brazil.

Capt. Da Silva said that they are products of the Salvation Army and left their professional careers in Brazil to serve.

“We both grew up with the Salvation Army and we are also both a product of the mission of the Salvation Army. We both come from low-income families, poor family, and we had our lives turned around because of the ministry of the Salvation Army,” said Capt. Da Silva.

Previously, Capt. Da Silva had worked as a human relations manager and Maj. Da Silva was an early education teacher.

“The calling of the Salvation Army … is to be a friend of the friendless, to lead a life of kindness and service that is self-sacrificial and one that I consider full of faith,” said Capt. Da Silva.

The Salvation Army in Williamsburg serves Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Nationally, the Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans by providing food, shelter, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse and more.

The Da Silvas hope within their role that they can expand the current services of the Salvation Army of Williamsburg and to see it grow within the community. Some of the services they are hoping to offer include before- and after-school programs for children, including tutoring, music lessons and more. They also want to offer an adult literacy program and more character-building programs to the community.

One of the first steps to offering these services, according to Capt. Da Silva, is renovating their property off Ironbound Road to include classrooms.

Capt. Da Silva says that they have four priorities in their role: the first and foremost is the people, the second is programming, the third is property and lastly is public relations to expand their network and outreach.

“We are here because of people, we are here for people,” said Capt. Da Silva.

The Da Silvas have stayed in touch with many of the people they have served over the years and consider many as a son or daughter to them.

Capt. Da Silva said that one memory that solidified why he was serving included a man from Louisville, Kentucky, who was a drug and alcohol addict when they first met. Through services with the Salvation Army, the man has now been sober for more than 15 years and now works with the ministry himself. They still keep in touch with him.

“Every food box, every backpack that we will give this summer, every night of lodging, every life skills class taught … is a reminder to those that we serve that there is a reason to hope and a reason to love,” said Capt. Da Silva.

Currently, the Salvation Army of Williamsburg is collecting supplies for a back-to-school party they will be hosting Aug. 26 where they hope to serve as many as 500 children in the community. Distribution will take place over a two-day period and households will be scheduling a time with staff to come pick up backpacks and other items. Masks, soap and hand sanitizer will be given out to each child in the distribution as well. A volunteer will be monitoring the number of people in the building.

Capt. Da Silva said they have seen an increased need since March and many families face a hard decision between paying for rent and other expenses and providing school supplies.

“We want to make sure that the kids will have a successful school year. We don’t know what it will look like, but we want to be there for them this summer,” said Capt. Da Silva.

The Salvation Army in Williamsburg is in need of shoes and clothing, especially for teenagers. They are in need of clothing for children 12 and older and adult clothing sizes for older teenagers and any youth and adult size shoes up to size 14-15.

Any donations can be made to their office located at 216 Ironbound Road. Capt. Da Silva also said they accept checks and one of the staff members will go out and buy the supplies.

The Salvation Army is abiding by CDC guidelines and adhering to social distancing. They are also requiring their staff and visitors to do a temperature check before entering their building, in addition to providing masks to those without one.

So far, the Da Silvas have said that the community in Williamsburg stands out because of people’s generosity. Coming from larger cities, such as Atlanta, Capt. Da Silva said sometimes people can lose joy to the hustle and bustle.

Abigail Adcox, 757-222-5320,

Support students through community programs

As kids prepare for the upcoming school year, school supplies remain critical to their success. While school districts struggle with the challenge of delivering education and resources to students amid a pandemic, many parents are working to determine how they will ensure their children have the necessary supplies.

Community youth programs are innovating to fill gaps and ensure kids from low-income families in particular are equipped with learning materials and supplies, enrichment activities and food. For example, when schools closed, local corps of The Salvation Army started adapting creative alternatives to their youth programs to provide activities, snacks and educational materials like coloring sheets, scavenger hunts and more to keep kids entertained and learning.

If you’d like to make a similar impact in your community, consider lending a hand in one of these ways:

Tutor or mentor students. Although most kids across the nation face the same challenges with academics, some are at more of a disadvantage because their access to remote learning resources is limited or parents are unable to assist at home. You can help by volunteering to tutor students as they practice learned skills and get back into the swing of a new school year.

Donate supplies. There are 30 million children in the United States whose parents will have to choose between buying school supplies or other necessities like putting food on the table. Consider adding extra common items like crayons, markers and glue when you shop for your own children and dropping them off at your local youth center. Campaigns like The Salvation Army’s “Stuff the Bus” events allow shoppers to purchase and drop off requested items at collection bins located at the front of participating retailers.

Get involved with extracurricular activities. If you have a particular skillset or experience, for example as a high school or college athlete, lending your knowledge to a local youth group can help provide a constructive outlet for kids while enriching your own life.

Volunteer for meal distribution. Many children rely heavily on schools for meals; in fact, the food some students receive through their schools’ breakfast and lunch programs may be the only meals they get in a day. Across the country, organizations have partnered with local school districts to provide meal kits, coordinate food distribution routes and pickup locations to get meals to kids and families. Depending on the needs in your area, you may be able to donate food, assist with organizing the meal kits or help coordinate deliveries.

Help fund youth programs. Uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has many people reconsidering their finances, and that means the donations and contributions many programs rely upon have slowed. If your situation allows, consider a monetary contribution to a youth-oriented cause, which can help deliver programming even if you’re not able to volunteer in other ways.

Learn more about getting involved in your community at

Purposeful Youth Programs

While many children from low-income families rarely experience life outside of their immediate neighborhoods, youth programs can help kids discover new skills, passions and hobbies while connecting with others in a safe, healthy way.

Along with community centers dedicated to supporting the physical, emotional and spiritual growth of moms, dads and kids, organizations like The Salvation Army provide after-school programs for students of all ages and numerous music, art and athletic programs at its 7,600 centers across the country.

The organization’s “Stuff the Bus” program also helps make activities and programs more accessible to low-income youth in local communities, including:

After-school programs offer homework assistance and counseling for children of all ages, as well as one-on-one assistance with homework, study skills and literacy advancement. Dance, art and music programs are offered in no- or low-cost environments. Classes range from choir, band and dancing to drawing, writing and acting.

Sports, clubs and extracurricular activities give children from low-income neighborhoods a chance to play team sports and learn valuable athletic and life skills.

Parental involvement coaching equips parents with the skills needed to support and sustain their children’s educational needs.

 Fairfax County Times
Salvation Army Morgantown WV

Salvation Army teams up with Granville Walmart for ‘Stuff the Bus’ campaign

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Salvation Army of Marion, Monongalia and Preston Counties is having their annual ‘Stuff the Bus’ campaign in collaboration with the Granville Walmart this year.

The goal of the campaign is for the public to donate back to school supplies in bins at the store or to the Salvation Army’s office in Morgantown, which is located at 1264 University Ave.

‘Stuff the Bus’ will run from Friday, Aug. 7 to Sunday, Aug. 9. This is the first year the Granville Walmart and the Salvation Army are collaborating and both parties say this year is especially important.

“Walmart has been fabulous with giving us this opportunity to partner with them for the community to purchase items and give it to us, so that we are just the middle man turning it right around and giving it to the families who have suffered with some financial difficulties, especially this year as a result of COVID-19,” Lt. Sheldon Greenland with the Salvation Army said.


Greenland said he is very grateful to have Walmart’s help and encouraged the public to visit the store, buy school supplies and donate them in the bins. He said the donated products do not need to be purchased from Walmart or recently purchased, just in good condition.

The co-manager of the Granville store, John Rohrer said back to school season is looking different this year because of the pandemic and Walmart just wants to do its part to help.

“A lot of students’ families have been impacted financially with the COVID-19,” Rohrer said. “And we are hoping to provide those families with a great opportunity by partnering with the Salvation Army to provide them back to school supplies.”

Greenland said he understands that much of the public has been financially impacted by the pandemic but if it is possible people should reach deep and donate what they can.

“Every little bit helps and during these times we have seen unprecedented changes, so anything that you can give will definitely be a positive help for those who are going through a tough time,” Greenland said.

Greenland added his gratefulness to the public as well.

“I just want to say thank you for your continued support of what the Salvation Army does,” Greenland said. “Not just us, but all the other charitable organizations, so we just ask you to continue to support us as we continue to support and take care of our community. You guys take care and God bless.”

Winchester - New Salvation Army leaders on the job

New Salvation Army leaders on the job

 Even at a young age, Rachel and Jared Martin knew they wanted to serve others.

The Martins arrived in Winchester last week to head up the local Salvation Army at 300 Fort Collier Road. Monday was their first day on the job. The Martins, who are lieutenants in the international charitable organization and Christian church, succeed Capts. Kelly and Regina Durant, who are now located in Prince William County.

“I grew up in the Salvation Army and the Salvation Army church,” said 38-year-old Jared, who was raised in Independence, Missouri, and represents the fourth generation in his family to be involved with the Salvation Army. “I was volunteering even when I was a kid. My first paid job was with the Salvation Army when I was 16.”

The Martins, who have been married for 14½ years, have served as leaders within the Salvation Army organization for about a decade. Prior to coming to the Winchester area, they served in Culpeper and Maryville, Tennessee.

They met while they were students at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. At the time, Jared was volunteering and working at the Salvation Army in Kankakee, Illinois.

“On campus he was known as ‘Mr. Salvation Army’ because he wore his uniform a lot,” said Rachel, 37.

“She was studying social work, I was studying religion,” Jared said. “And one of the first things that she said is that she wants to be involved in a Christian social services agency. I said, ‘I know one of those.’”

A short time later, Rachel began volunteering with the Salvation Army.

“We felt God was very directly telling us this is the way he wants us to invest our lives,” said Jared. “The calling of the Salvation Army officer is to win people to know Jesus as their savior, to be a friend of the friendless, to live a life of kindness and service that is self-sacrificial, one that is full of faith. And I think that’s a calling that’s amazing.”

The Martins, who have three children — Anna, 13; Judah, 11; and Knightley, 8 — arrive in Winchester at a time where the demand for the Salvation Army’s services has risen, but revenue streams have been gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 15,000 people receive help annually from the local Salvation Army. The organization operates a 48-bed emergency shelter at 300 Fort Collier Road, where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily to those in need, totaling about 42,000 meals each year. Financial assistance to help pay utility bills is also available.

The Martins said job layoffs resulting from the pandemic have brought more people to the Salvation Army for help.

“There is a significant need for people who have the capacity to give to stand up and make sure we are able to continue that mission for those who are homeless and those who are in need of utilities assistance,” Jared said.

Currently, the shelter only has 40 beds available due to social distancing requirements, though the Martins say the shelter is not at full capacity at the moment.

In March, the local Salvation Army had to temporarily close its thrift store at 320 Weems Lane in Winchester to adhere to social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The store’s closure led to a significant loss in revenue for the nonprofit, forcing the layoffs of several employees.

But the the store is expected to reopen at 9 a.m. today. Jared said the reopening is something the Salvation Army has been working on for awhile.

“We laid off people from the store when the store closed,” Jared said. “As soon as we were in a spot where it was safe to open the store, the first thing that we did is contact the people and gave everybody who’s qualified the opportunity to step back into their jobs.”

Rachel said she wants to improve the Salvation Army’s interactions and outreach with the local community.

And Jared hopes people will turn to the Salvation Army in their time of need.

“We hope this is a place of hope where people will be able to come with their brokenness and find healing in every area of their life — spiritually, physically, emotionally,” he said. “That somebody who has been destroyed by this world will be able to find refuge and a shield to protect them.”

— Contact Josh Janney at

Salvation Army Fredericksburg Has More Space

Salvation Army Fredericksburg Has More Space

Fredericksburg Salvation Army has more space for its administrative and social service offices. They’re still on Lafayette Blvd and still in the same shopping center as the Family Store (and Paul’s Bakery) but in a bigger building at 2014C….more

Rain or Shine Student Volunteer Demonstrates Caring for his Community

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched all our lives, but the isolation and restrictions are especially hard for children and teens. While school systems turn to virtual classrooms, other learning opportunities are encouraged – and welcome — including service learning. Students at St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, Maryland, were encouraged to put into practice the values and knowledge gained in the classroom by reaching out to all those in the community who find themselves in need. School administrators recently shared information about The Salvation Army of Prince George’s County.


“I didn’t know much about The Salvation Army, until my school shared a list of organizations that needed help. Since I couldn’t go someplace and volunteer, I thought I could go get groceries with my mom and drop it off,” shared St. Vincent Pallotti freshman Preston Fero. “I miss being with friends and being at school, but I think about people out there who are missing a lot more than that, and don’t have food at home. I’m glad The Salvation Army is there for them.”


For the past two weeks, rain or shine, Preston has arrived at The Salvation Army of Prince George’s County with a couple bags or boxes of food for their food pantry. “He always includes cookies or a treat,” said his mom Bonnie. While he does get credit for service hours, he keeps coming back, with a box of food and a smile.


Every Week is “Volunteer Week” at The Salvation Army

Organizations around the nation celebrate volunteerism during National Volunteer Week, April 19-25. The Salvation Army sees the difference volunteers make in the lives of hungry, homeless, and hurting people every day. Often just knowing someone cares means the world to a person in need. Here are a few ways in which Salvation Army volunteers have taken to the front lines throughout Virginia and the Washington. D.C. metro area, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in recent weeks:

  • Volunteers gathered at The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command warehouse – at safe distances – to assemble “Happies for the Helpers” bags. Partnering with our friends at AT&T, this small gesture was created to say thank you and bring a smile to those who are working on the front-line to combat COVID-19 every day. The bags were delivered to several area hospitals.

  • Each Tuesday and Thursday, The Salvation Army Suffolk, Virginia assembles and serves restaurant meals for their community. This effort provides about 100 meals per day in partnership with the Love Local, Buy Suffolk Initiative. As cars drive alongside the building, teen and senior volunteers from The Mount Suffolk church safely hand over hot meals to hungry neighbors.

  • A few weeks ago, Patrick began serving at the high-risk shelter that opened in Richmond at The Salvation Army Central Virginia Boys & Girls Club. A full-time contractor, Patrick’s projects have slowed down as a result of COVID-19 so he wanted to use his extra time to give back where he sees a need in the community. Now a regular, Patrick helps temporary housing clients in the fitness studio, serves meals, cleaning — wherever help is needed.

  • Each day Anthony catches the Fairfax Connector bus to get to The Salvation Army of Fairfax. He is not seeking assistance or clocking into a full-time job, instead he is a faithful volunteer who ensures that people in the community have the items they need to weather the COVID-19 crisis. Anthony manages the assembly and distribution of food bags that are packed to feed a family of four for 4-5 days. He also prays with those receiving food, offering them additional comfort.


The Salvation Army National Capital & Virginia Division offers heartfelt thanks to all our dedicated volunteers.


Volunteer Demonstrates his Love for his Community

Each Tuesday and Thursday, The Salvation Army Suffolk, Virginia assembles and serves restaurant meals for their community. This effort provides about 100 meals per day in partnership with the Love Local, Buy Suffolk Initiative. As cars drive alongside the building, volunteers from The Mount Suffolk church safely hand over hot meals to hungry neighbors. One of those faithful Mount Suffolk church volunteers is Jeffrey Johnson.

Born and raised in Suffolk, Johnson considers himself a “people person.” He was ready to serve when the call for volunteers was made by his pastor, Rev. Karl Wilkins. “My mother always said, ‘it’s not how much you know, it’s how much you care,’ and I care about this community and helping those who are less fortunate,” said Johnson. After finishing at his job as a hazmat truck driver, which he has held for 40 years, Johnson heads right to the Corps on Tuesdays and Thursdays for meal deliveries. “When I start something, I want to do what’s needed until the end. It’s been a real honor to work with other volunteers to glorify God.”

“He has been serving faithfully since the start of all this,” said Captain Shauntrice Williams with The Salvation Army Suffolk. “He loves the Lord and helping people. The smile on his face shows that he loves what we are doing here in Suffolk.”

Hampton Roads organizations still accepting donations during COVID-19

The stay-at-home order is keeping everyone inside and kicking spring cleaning off even earlier this year.

People are gathering up clothing and household items to donate. But what is open to give them away to?

A few organizations are still accepting donations during this time.

Major Matt Riley with The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command said donations skyrocketed over the last few weeks

“With this virus, it has kind of amped it up with everyone being home,” Riley said.

Stay-at-home orders forced organizations to limit hours or close, but The Salvation Army is still taking whatever Hampton Roads residents have to offer.

The organization has trailers at their location on 1136 Lynnhaven Pkwy in Virginia Beach and 901 Eden Way in Chesapeake. Both locations have trailers and they are manned Monday through Saturday.

Donors can also stop by their Virginia Beach Boulevard location to drop off items during operation hours without ever leaving their car.

“All our men are wearing masks and gloves,” Riley said. “We are trying to stay with CDC recommendations.”

The United Way of South Hampton Roads spokesperson said Goodwill stores will accept drive thru donations as well at select locations. Catholic Charities are collecting infant and child clothing at their Virginia Beach Boulevard location.

A spokesperson for CHKD said that CHKD Thrift Stores are closed. The thrift store’s Facebook page asks that people don’t leave donations out in front of their locations for the time being.

Riley said donors can sanitize items.

“Wipe it down before it comes as best they can,” Riley said.

He also said be mindful about dropping off after hours.

“We don’t know what the weather is going to hold and sometimes people go through the stuff and it doesn’t make it to us,” Riley said.

The stores have a dual purpose: providing discounted goods and funding adult rehabilitation centers.

“They house these men that are coming and trying to get themselves straightened out from addictions and difficulties they have been having,” Riley said.

Riley hopes donations don’t stop so his guys can stay busy.

“Even though we are not able to open the stores yet, those donations alone keep the men busy,” Riley said. “It is a huge help.”

 Allison Bazzle

Salvation Army works to change the lives of those in need

Sinclair Broadcast Group, including ABC13, is partnering with the Salvation Army in a campaign called “Sinclair Cares: Your Neighbor Needs You.”

The Salvation Army works around the clock to provide food and shelter for those in need.

Last year, 20-year-old Zoe Vaughns left her home in Seattle for college.

“I was going to Liberty and just, you know, life happened, life got in the way and I ended up needing place to go,” Vaughns said.

She turned to the Salvation Army in Lynchburg.

“I was initially really scared to come here, because I’d never been homeless in my whole entire life and this was a whole new experience,” Vaughns said.

It was a new experience that took away her initial fears when she reached out for help.

“My greatest fear was being on the street and since the day I got here, I haven’t been on the street,” Vaughns said. “Just a place to lay down and call home in a way.”

For the past three months, the Salvation Army has worked to get Vaughns back on her feet. They even helped her get a job .

“They’re doing everything they can to help you progress and become the best you that you can be,” Vaughns said.

During the coronavirus pandemic, staff is taking extra precautions to keep their residents safe when taking in new people.

“If they come in from out of state, we have to look at it at little differently, but we’re doing the best we can at providing shelter, at providing the meals,” Social Services Manager Veronica Washington said.

The organization feeds twice a day. They serve breakfast from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and then dinner from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Just like they say ‘Do Good’ and they really are doing good,” Vaughns said. “They’re here to help and get you on the right track.”

To give some perspective on donations:

  • A $10 donation feeds a person in need for one day.
  • A $30 donation provides one food box containing staple foods for a family of four.
  • A $75 donation will allow a family of 4 to stay in a hotel for one night.
  • A $250 donation can provide a hot, to-go meal to 100 people.

Sinclair Broadcast Group will match up to the first $100,000.

To donate to the Salvation Army, Sinclair Cares “Your Neighbor Needs You” relief fund, CLICK HERE.