This past weekend, Captain Burns and Rotary District Governor Debbie Wall announced a new partnership between The Salvation Army and Rotary 7600 District for a district-wide Red Kettle bell ringing event December 2nd-4th. During the 3 day event, over 60 Rotary Clubs are encouraged to ring at a Red Kettle in their community to raise funds, awareness and support for those most in need.
“Rotary International and The Salvation Army International share similar missions of serving people in need around the world and have been doing so for a combined 252 years. Rotary has been a part of our Red Kettles in Central Virginia for over 30 years. We are excited for this new partnership which will allow both organizations to have a larger impact in communities throughout the state of Virginia,” said Captain Jason Burns.
Did you know over 100 million people worldwide are without housing? On October 10th, we recognize World Homeless Day and the importance of a safe, secure home. While we are working locally to keep individuals safely sheltered, The Salvation Army is also offering services and solutions to end homelessness worldwide. By offering emergency shelter, long-term housing assistance and case management support, we’re working to help individuals find a pathway out of poverty, and a permanent place to call home.
Many individuals we help are like Nykirah, who found herself homeless after losing her job during the pandemic, and then her housing all caring for her sick mother. She came to The Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Shelter with her three sons and could sleep safely without fearing what would happen next. With a safe place to sleep each night, case management support and a network of resources, Nykirah regained employment and was able to move into an apartment with her boys and is working towards homeownership.
You can make a difference this World Homeless Day for individuals like Nykirah and others who fear where they’ll sleep tonight, how their bills will get paid or when their next meal will come. Share a note of encouragement, educate others about how The Salvation Army can help, or consider making a $25 donation to help families create fresh starts.
According to Homeward‘s 2020 Point in Time Count, on any given night there were 549 individuals without housing in Richmond. In 2020, The Salvation Army of Central Virginia provided safe shelter for 269 individuals. Of those, 98 individuals were placed into permanent housing following their shelter stay.
For individuals experiencing homelessness, having reliable transportation and a safe place to stay can be pivotal. With transportation, individuals are better able to secure steady employment, allowing them to create financial stability. This creates a path forward – a clean start – for a brighter future.
This summer you can provide a clean start for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Introducing our 2021 T-shirt Design Contest winning design, created by Ilyse Zincone! Thank you to everyone who submitted a design and voted to help us choose a design for this year. T-shirt sales begin July 12th and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to our year-round programs and services.
Last month, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club hosted its first Alumni Day event. The event welcomed in decades of alumni who attended the Club growing up. This year marks the Club’s 50th anniversary at its current R Street location which was also celebrated during the day.
Throughout the event, alumni had opportunities to reconnect with childhood friends, tour the newly renovated facility, and share their stories of the time spent at the Club. Many shared how the Club “saved their life” and they didn’t know where they would be today if it weren’t for the Club.
Awards were presented to several alumni recognizing their contributions to the Club and the Church Hill community. Mayor Levar Stoney and Sheriff Antoinette Irving provided remarks during the program. During the program the James H. Bryant Scholarship Fund was announced which will help provide scholarship opportunities for future generations to attend the Club.
For the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country in order to rescue Christmas. The funds raised through the organization’s iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high.
“In Central Virginia, nearly 6,000 individuals rely on The Salvation Army’s support each Christmas. With more individuals needing support for the first time following the economic impact of COVID-19, we could see that number double,” Captain Jason Burns of The Salvation Army Central Virginia said. “We are committed to providing hope to the most vulnerable, but we need the community’s support now more than ever to do so. We are looking at new options to make donating safer and simpler than ever so that we can also keep the safety of our donors and volunteers safety a priority as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”
Since March, The Salvation Army of Central Virginia has provided more than 10,000 meals, 198 nights of safe shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to hundreds of people in need. While the need for support has always been there, this year it is greater than ever, with support for Christmas expected to increase as well. As fewer individuals are shopping
in person or carrying cash as a result of the pandemic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50 percent decrease in funds raised nationally through the red kettles, which would limit their capability to provide services for the most vulnerable. To put this in perspective, last year $126 million was raised nationally through about 30,000 red kettles. Locally, red kettles raised $290,000 through nearly 50 kettles during the 2019 Christmas season to support our programs throughout the year.
The Salvation Army of Central Virginia Sets Out to “Rescue Christmas”
· The best way to ensure that these vital services continue is to enlist in Love’s Army with a sustaining monthly gift of $25 per month.
· Donate in person at our red kettle locations beginning in November. Locations will be updated on our website as they become confirmed. To help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners, The Salvation Army has adopted nationally mandated safety protocols.
· Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Central Virginia
· Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount.
· Adopt an online red kettle to help get a head start on Christmas.
· Give any amount by texting “RVAKETTLE” to 71777
· Donate physical gifts in bulk.
· Adopt additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
Every donation provides help and hope to those in need, and all gifts stay within the community in which they are given. Visit SalvationArmyCentralVA.org to donate or learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army rescue Christmas this year.
As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club quickly evolved to meet the ongoing needs of the community, first transitioning into an emergency COVID-19 shelter and then offering a limited capacity summer camp for children. From ending the school year virtually and no longer being able to participate in many of their favorite activities, the lives of children and youth look drastically different than when 2020 started. By offering limited-capacity summer camp, The Club provided a new sense of hope and comfort to youth in the community when they needed it most.
Staff implemented intensive health and safety protocols, such as daily temperature scans, PPE requirements, increased cleaning and spacing out classrooms. While summer camp looked different from what the children were used to, it didn’t stop them from making lasting memories and developing critical skills. With many schools returning virtually this fall, The Club opened its doors as a Facilitated Learning Center and welcomed students from Richmond City, Henrico and Chesterfield Counties. Here the students receive in person support during the school day, daily breakfast and lunch, and afterschool programming. The Club is also serving as a community hub in partnership with Richmond Public Schools where families can receive access to community resources.
“Once again we are transitioning to meet the needs of the community and Club members when they need support most,” said Boys & Girls Club Director, Hugh Jones. “We are prepared to serve as a facilitated learning center to maintain the academic, emotional and character development of youth while they aren’t physically in their schools anymore. We are proud to offer support, and grateful for our community partners working together to create a bright future for our children.”
As we are all navigating through uncharted waters during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army of Central Virginia was grateful to provide support for its Boys & Girls Club members by offering a limited-capacity summer camp. We know how adults have been challenged by all that is going on, however the pandemic and quarantine have also taken a toll on youth. From not finishing the school year, no longer being around friends or participating in their favorite activities for months, the lives of children and youth look drastically different than they did six months ago. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club wanted to provide positive support for youth in the area, especially when they needed it most. We wanted to offer what we are here for and are known for: creating an atmosphere of fun and learning while also providing relief for parents while they are away. The scripture below was shared with Boys & Girls Club staff in preparation for reopening during these trying times:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Staff spent the weeks leading up to summer camp learning about all CDC/State health and safety guidelines and revamping protocols to fit the current circumstance. Staff have made sure that all individuals will remain safe including measures such as: parent drop off, taking temperatures twice a day, limiting class sizes, ensuring social distancing, planning creative programming, monitoring use of face masks and hand washing, and more. Summer camp opened on June 22nd and is now in week four. While initially opening under new circumstances was tricky, staff and camp participants are now comfortably enjoying camp while remaining safe and healthy. The last few weeks have been full of activities, energy, creative programming, smiles, and laughter. Staff, parents and club members alike have been getting into the flow of navigating as we provide an optimum Club experience once again!
The Salvation Army Central Virginia opened a temporary housing center today in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The center will actively protect the health and safety of individuals identified as higher risk to the exposure of the COVID-19 virus.
The Salvation Army is an active member of the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care and this temporary center is a collaborative effort to provide professional housing and health support to clients in the center. The temporary center will have the potential to house up to 75 individuals who are currently receiving temporary housing through the GRCoC. Residents will have access to comfortable bedding, showers, meals and heightened health care screenings.
“The Salvation Army recognizes that our community and nation is facing many new challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. With these new challenges, The Salvation Army and the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care is working hard to find solutions,” Major Donald Dohmann of The Salvation Army Central Virginia said. “Opening a temporary center for higher-risk individuals is a unique way to serve our community through the love of Christ and possibly save lives. We are happy that we can continue to serve our community in this unique way.”
The temporary center, which will be separate from the organization’s emergency shelter located at 2 West Grace Street, will house individuals currently in the emergency homeless shelter system who may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. This temporary center will be housed inside the Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club, which has temporarily postponed its standard programming.
In the January City Council Meeting, The Salvation Army of Central Virginia was approved for relocation of its Area Command to 1900 Chamberlayne Avenue (Eternity Church), which will allow the organization to expand its homeless services, including doubling client bed count and increasing access to critical services.
By moving to a one-story building, The Salvation Army will be better equipped to serve disabled individuals in need of housing. Additionally, the nearly 50,000 square feet of space will more than double the amount of available beds, increasing from 55 to 97. This expansion will allow The Salvation Army to continue the decline in homelessness by increasing the access to safe shelter.
“We’re excited for the potential impact this new facility will have on people who are experiencing a housing crisis,” said Major Donald Dohmann, Area Commander, at The Salvation Army of Central Virginia. “In order for The Salvation Army to continue doing the most good, we need to evolve as community needs evolve, and this is the perfect opportunity for that.”
The relocation will include the move of all administrative operations, case management services and emergency housing into one facility, enabling more comprehensive care for clients. The Salvation Army will continue serving the Richmond community through their Adult Rehabilitation Center, Boys & Girls Club Program and Citadel Corps church.
The Salvation Army has been serving Central Virginia residents in need since 1885 and has been located at 2 West Grace Street for 40 years. By moving Area Command under one roof, The Salvation Army hopes to strengthen their focus on serving the community and advocating for people seeking a path to self-sufficiency.
Darvonette Johnson, a senior at Franklin Military Academy is The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club 2017 Youth of the Year. Johnson received the honor by exemplifying characteristics of community involvement, leadership, compassion for others, and strong moral character.
“When I first came to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club I was a quiet and shy little girl who kept to herself,” said Johnson as she addressed the panel of judges representing Spice Rack, Church Hill People’s News and I Vote for Me. “The Club has helped me blossom into an outgoing, determined leader who loves helping my community and the people around me. I’ve become a better person thanks to the staff at the Club.”
Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been the Boys & Girls Club of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating extraordinary achievements of Club members. Each year, Boys & Girls Clubs across the country select a Youth of the Year from their selective Clubs. The competition is a premier recognition event for Club members, promoting to the club, community and family, academic success, public speaking ability, life goals and strong moral character.
Two members of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Richmond’s East End competed for the 2017 honor, with Johnson taking the top honor over Ty’wann Jackson, a junior at Armstrong High School.
“Darvonette exemplifies the critical impact of the Club on the lives of young people and will be a great representative for The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club at the state Youth of the Year competition in Norfolk,” explained The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club executive director, Hugh Jones. “Youth of the Year participants embody the values of leadership, service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles. Through the Youth of the Year program, young people are able to showcase their talents and achievements, share their hopes and dreams, and work toward a bright and positive future.”
Johnson has been a member of the Club for four years and is the president of the Keystone Club.
Johnson will work with Club Council members to prepare to compete against other youth from Boys & Girls Clubs across Virginia and Washington, D.C. for the distinction of State of Virginia Youth of the Year in early April.
For over 95 years, The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club has had a positive impact on Richmond children through core programming in Education/Career, Character & Leadership, Health & Life Skills, Arts, Sports & Fitness, and Morality & Values.
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club is working on a renovation project that will change how the Club supports and empowers Richmond’s East End residents and youth. As alums of the Club, you’ve had a first-hand experience of how participating in Club activities can change a child’s life. We want to hear your stories on how The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club changed your life so we can change more lives!
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