Salvation Army provides resources at critical times

The red kettles are out in force. The Christmas season annually reminds American of the work of The Salvation Army and the services it provides. With the nation still trying to pull out of its economic tailspin 2009 has kept the venerable Christian charity operating at full speed the other 11 months of the year. “Our (homeless) shelters have been full all year,” said Jeff Stanger, development director for The Salvation Army in Central and Southern Indiana. “In order to meet the demand, we know we’ll need an increase in cash and in-kind donations to help see us through the winter.” In addition to the traditional holiday assistance of providing Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to low-income families, The Salvation Army also partners with other non-profits to fund social programs ranging from drug rehabilitation clinics to after school programs. “There is no doubt that amount of people applying for assistance is the highest number anybody can recall in recent memory,” Stanger said. “There are a lot of first time folks who have never been helped before and may not know where to get plugged into other non-profits. It can be a daunting task if you have never had to go through it before.” Receiving help from The Salvation Army has literally been a life-saver for Stephanie Moore. Moore came to one of the organization’s homeless shelters in downtown Indianapolis for women and children fleeing domestic violence with her three children in 1995. Now, Moore supervises child care at the shelter and teaches parenting classes to young women who come seeking the same refuge and guidance she received over a decade ago. She said she was working at a private Christian school and enduring repeated abuse from her husband. The mother of one of her students who was a police officer directed her to the shelter. “From the moment I got here I was surrounded by such nice people who gave me and my kids a lot of love,” Moore recalled. The love and care she received quickly turned into a new direction for her life. The pastor of a church next door to the shelter offered Moore a summer job to work for a summer camp. Her professional background helped her through the summer camp and became an offer to work with children regularly at the shelter. She’s still there, with an expanded role. Moore said, “I know how it feels to walk away from everything. It’s very scary. I do use my experience quite a bit, and for that purpose I feel the Lord has opened up doors for me. … To be able to get these women in a safe situation and use the opportunities The Salvation Army provides to help them start rebuilding their lives is a blessing.” The faith which sustains Moore in her daily life has also been critical in seeing her through tragic circumstances in her own life. Of the three children she entered the shelter with, her daughter was murdered last year when gang members shot at her boyfriend and she was killed. She now takes care of the two grandchildren her daughter left behind. Her two sons have also taken divergent paths. One son is in prison while the other is graduating from Indiana University and is set to advance to medical school. “I honestly don’t know what people do who don’t have Jesus in their lives,” Moore said. “I would never have gotten through what happened with my daughter. God carried me through even the murder, which was so painful. God has always been a presence in my life when all I have had to rely on is my faith.” And that faith is rewarded, Moore feels, on a regular basis by helping the women she counsels regain a foundation for their lives. “I’m not a case manager, but if I can ever go through and talk to women about what they have been through, relieve some of the stress and let them know what they’re experiencing is not always going to be this way. God has brought me through it and he can bring others through it too. .. Helping ladies break through the cycle of violence, to be here for them and to see them not be so terrified and scared has helped me work through my own heartache and pain and let them know that God will pull them through.” Link: The Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf

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