On this date in 1880, the Salvation Army came to America. This brigade of charity had been started in 1865 in London. Their first meeting of 8 people took place in New York City on March 10, 1880.
The Salvation Army began with the mission of caring for those who were rejected by the rest of society. They sought out the prostitutes, the morphine addicts, the drunkards, the criminals. They tried to help them get right, just like Jesus would want them too.
It is now one of the greatest worldwide charity organizations, providing disaster relief, comfort and shelter for people in 126 countries worldwide. It is the only charity organization represented in every single zip code in the United States.
Those annoying bell ringers??? Last year they raised over $175 million dollars for those who need it the most.
When I was very little, my Grandma Hattie worked at the local Salvation Army thrift store. I loved visiting her there so much. She was so proud to help people at what she affectionately called: “The Sally Store.”
In 2009, near Portland, Maine, I was in a bad car accident. My car was totaled, and in the process my wallet, all my cards, and money flew out of the car. I watched it all blow down the highway as I was strapped in the ambulance to be taken to the hospital.
I was really, really lucky to not have any serious injuries. They let me out of the hospital that night, but all I had was a hospital issued pair of sweats. I had no money, no I.D., and didn’t know anyone within 300 miles.
I am very blessed to have a great family who were able to arrange a Motel 6 for me only a couple of mile walk away. They even ordered a pizza to be delivered to me at the hotel.
I still desperately needed more help. I needed to get things out of my car at the wreckage yard. I needed to get to the airport.
I called AAA. I was a plus member, but they said they could do nothing. I called the local Catholic Charities organization : “Sorry….we can’t help you sir.”
I called the local Salvation Army. They said, “We’ll take care of you Mr. Hammitt.” They sent a man to the hotel. He took me to my car, helped me box up the belongings, take them to the post office, and paid to get my items shipped home. He later came back and took me to the airport and gave me $10 to get something to eat.
I could never walk by those red buckets and bell ringers without dropping something it to help. It is the best money I spend all year.
Thank Goodness for the Salvation Army and the incredible soldiers who have served those of us who needed them the most.