4 Largest Donations Found in the Red Kettle

December 8, 2016

Charley Brandt, dressed as Santa, rings the bell for the Salvation Army at the Byerly's store in Roseville. Brandt, a three year veteran of bell ringing is trying out the newly acquired Santa suit in hopes that increases donations. Tuesday, December 10, 2013. He a Byerly's customers laughs as Brandt compliments her on her smile and wishes her, "Merry Christmas". (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

We all know the feeling of reaching for spare change in our pockets– trying to find a few coins here or there to give to the chilly bell ringer standing outside of Walmart. Though most often, spare change and $1 bills are what finds their way to the kettle, there are a few bigger donations that come in each year. 

Want to know some of the largest donations (on record) ever given to the Red Kettle?! We have a compilation of some of the most generous gifts ever seen by The Salvation Army at Christmastime! 

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The $10K Piggy Bank

Your child’s piggy bank mayyyy not be worth much, but for rare coin collectors, their little assemblage can be rather valuable! An anonymous donor finally revealed their identity after 15 years of donating parts of their rare coin collection to the Kettles.

“Dick and Ruth Jean Unger, who had long asked to remain nameless, finally went public because so many people wanted to know who was behind the kind-hearted deed.”

After all was said and done, their coins amounted to a grand total of $10,000!!!

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Five $10K Checks from Secret Santa Wrapped in a $1 Bill

At a Joplin, Mo. Walmart on Black Friday, as the shoppers were waiting in line, one shopper wasn’t there to buy a big screen TV!! As the officers counted the Red Kettle totals that evening, 5 checks for $10,000 each were found inside the Kettle- all wrapped inside of a $1 dollar bill!!

“The person or persons behind the $50,000 donation remain anonymous, as she or he (or they) has been for the past decade. Salvation Army officials have nicknamed the anonymous donor(s) “Secret Santa” for the tradition of donating large sums in the kettle each Christmas season.”

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Bank matches $100,000 in donations

The Citizens Bank Foundation announced that it would donate $100,000 to The Salvation Army’s 2007 Kettle Campaign in New Hampshire as a match to the local’s giving. Green Kettles marked as Citizen’s Bank “match kettles” were put out throughout the state.

This helped “successfully complete a partnership developed in response to the growing need for emergency food, shelter and assistance with fuel expenses throughout the state.”

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The $500,000 Family Legacy

A check for $500,000 was dropped into The Salvation Army kettle at a Club Foods in Rosemount, Minnesota.

The family chose this gift to honor their family legacy.
One of their fathers served in World War 1 and especially loved The Salvation Army Donut Lassies, who brought coffee and donuts to the soldiers on the front lines. Want to learn more about the Donut Lassies?? Check out the story HERE:

Story Sources:

1) $10,000 Coins  2) Checks from Santa  3) Bank Match  4) The Minnesota $500K

5 Easy Steps to Adopting a Christmas Angel

November 21, 2016

Christmas has already begun at The Salvation Army and we look forward to another great season!! The Angel Trees are officially up in Walmarts all over NWA with sweet angels ready to be adopted by YOU, our amazing community.

Every year, we get lots of questions about how to adopt an angel, where to find a tree and when the gifts are due. So here are the 5 easy steps you can take to adopting a child in need and making a difference in Northwest Arkansas this Christmas!

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1. FIND A TREE
First thing is first- you have to find our trees! This year we have 9 trees in Walmarts near you. Most often, the tree is located near the customer service desk accompanied by a giant wrapped box for your gift deposits! Here are our locations:

FAYETTEVILLE ROGERS
3919 N Mall Ave. 2110 W Walnut
2875 W MLK Blvd. 4208 Pleasant Crossing
SPRINGDALE BENTONVILLE
2004 S Pleasant 406 S Walton
4870 Elm Springs Rd
SILOAM SPRINGS HUNTSVILLE
2901 Hwy 412 E 157 Gary Hatfield Way

2. PICK AN ANGEL
We have thousands of angels that need to be filled in NWA! Grab a tag or two off the tree to fill. Consider picking a tag that is the same age as your kids and shopping as a family!

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3. GO SHOPPING
This is by far the most FUN step! Look over your list and pick out items that match the list (or are as close as possible). Buying the toys is a blast, but don’t forget shoes and coats too! Shoes are the most forgotten item on the angel’s list EVERY year and it is often one of the greatest NEEDS.

4. BAG THE GIFTS
One of our most asked questions is… “Do I need to wrap the gifts?” The answer is no! Please do NOT wrap the gifts. We want the parents to be able to see what their children are receiving and feel a sense of ownership during the process by wrapping the gifts themselves. Simply follow the bagging AND TAGGING instructions and you will be good to go!

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5. DROP THEM IN THE BIN
Now that you have shopped, bagged, and tagged- we need your gifts back!! This year, the due date for gifts is December 9th. If we receive your bag after that date, we will not be able to use it this year. We will save the gifts inside to give out next year, but our staff will have to fill your angel for you with extra gifts that were given. So PLEASE bring them back on time!!

Bonus Step: Think on the Impact
I know I said there were only 5 steps- but this final step is really important! Remember that you are making a child’s Christmas this year by providing gifts and clothing for them. 1 in 4 children in Arkansas is food insecure. 30% of household incomes in NWA are a combined total of $25,000 or less.

So when you are adopting a child, you are truly making a difference! Not only will they receive your gifts, but each angel family will receive several nights worth of food from our partners like Tyson, The Pack Shack and Schmieding H C Produce! So from our team here at The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas, we say thank you!

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Ruffles, Corduroy and Maxis

October 31, 2016

Hello, friends! Your Family Store fashion guru- back again!

Fall is on its way (slowly, but surely). Is anyone else ready for its arrival?! Since I can’t be with you as you’re reading this, I will take your silence as a resounding “Yes!”. Not only am I excited about fall candles, comfort foods, and colder weather- I’m excited about fall fashion!

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Styles that I am most excited about this season?? Dresses and skirts, a fashion move a bit outside of my comfort zone! But with an abnormally warm fall this year, pulling out jeans and the sweater collection has not been an option. To bring about a fall fashion feel (while staying cool), I’m diving into maxi dresses!

Dresses can feel somewhat formal to some as they are typically the staple for important events. Fall, for me, certainly has a taste of formality to it as the temperatures drop and the steady flow of major holidays, aka, holiday parties, come and go. But I want to make dresses an everyday wear kind of fashion this fall! It may seem odd or uncomfortable at first, regardless, I’m doing it. And I’ll tell you how to do it to!

>> OUTFIT 1 <<

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Here, we have a super incredible, vintage dress made of corduroy. I have a tank underneath because it’s still criminally hot, BUT, as cold comes, I’m throwing mock turtlenecks underneath. Keep your eyes peeled for this fabric!! I say grab dresses, pants, jackets, anything in corduroy because it can be dressed up or dressed down.

It partners wonderfully with silk for an elevated look or with cotton / knit for a cozy casual.

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Corduroy Outfit Total: Dress $4, Tank $2, Clutch $8, Shoes $9

>>OUTFIT 2<<

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Another style I am LOVING this season is ruffles. Check your local mall and you’ll find ruffles in every store. They are making a come back!! Luckily, ruffles are a vintage classic aka thrift store specialty. I found this awesome ruffle shirt at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store– and there are more ruffles to go around! The detailing on top can really enhance a simple outfit. It’s also a great transition piece- perfect for work and your after-hours activities! Ruffles for the win.

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Maxi skirts are another staple that I can always count on The Salvation Army thrift stores to have. Last year, I was in the market for cotton maxi skirts to knot at the bottom (thus, creating the high/low silhouette that rose to popularity). But this year, I think I’m going after different fabrics and fun patterns! This skirt is denim, a fabric that is never wrong in fashion.

**Sidenote: many people are dedicated to wearing black clothes for the sake of comfort and easy matching. A great way to add color to your closet is through skirts! They come in all sorts of patterns, but their simple shapes make the patterns way more approachable.

kristie-fall-4Incorporating unique fabrics and fun patterns can be a challenge! Hopefully, you now have a blueprint for success in these fashion challenges, and in no time, you’ll feel comfortable in things you never used to wear!

Until next time, HAPPY FALL!
XOXO -The Family Store Fashonista

Arkansas Officers on the front lines for Matthew

October 10, 2016

Northwest Arkansas had the honor of deploying two Corps Officers to the front lines of Hurricane Matthew for disaster aid work this past week.

Lt. Nic Arroqui and Cpt. John Robbins were called upon to prepare the area for the coming storm, and ultimately, serve those affected by the extreme winds and flooding. The storm was not as devastating as potentially predicted (Praise the Lord!), but our team is still serving the thousands without power and those with flooded homes.

“We are still serving this community. There are still a lot of houses with the power out… we are sending out trucks packed with food and supplies. We are still here working and we have not stopped just because the storm has gone by. We will do this as long as we are needed.”

-Lt Nic. Arroqui, Fayetteville, AR Corps

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Lieutenant Nic Arroqui, Fayetteville Corps Officer, deployed to Tampa to serve with the Florida Emergency Disaster Team. The Salvation Army Florida Division has already served approximately 54,000 meals and will continue to serve food to those in need.

Captain John Robbins, Springdale Corps Officer, deployed to the Incident Command Center in Brunswick, Georgia where he is serving as the Safety Officer for The Salvation Army operations on the Georgia coast line.  As the Safety Officer, Captain Robbins is responsible for identifying potential safety hazards during the disaster operation and recommending corrective actions.

Cpt. John Robbins working with the team in Georgia

Cpt. John Robbins working with the team in Georgia

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Lt. Nic Arroqui working in the supplies warehouse in Tampa, Florida

Want to know how you can help with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew?

  • Donate Online: http://give.salvationarmyusa.org/hurricane_matthew
  • Donate By Mail: The Salvation Army PO BOX 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301 (Please designate ‘Hurricane Matthew’ on all checks.)
  • Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)
  • Donate By Text: Text STORM to 51555 to receive a donation link for easy mobile giving

Finding Serenity

October 6, 2016

My addiction was fine for a while.
But it’s like everything else. Every other addiction progresses and gets worse and worse and then it finally catches up with you.

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The Journey

I lost a great friend, a guy I had known for a long time, grew up with, in a car wreck in October 2014. Then lost my mother in January 2015. Lost Nanna in February 2015. And an oldest brother to suicide in March 2015. And I put on a fine face during the whole time but it was eating me up. I was mad at God. Mad at the world. I ended up in the hospital and called my Reverend.

I knew The Salvation Army was the place I needed to be. I jumped into the spiritual side of it, not just the AA side of it. I needed God in my life. I needed him back in my life. I had lost all faith and all hope. 

It was a pretty big burden, but it just depends on your perspective of it. It was bad at the time but brought me back to where I am today. It’s what it took to get me back.

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Can you describe how you felt before the program and how you feel now?
Lost. Empty. I had lost all faith and hope.

And now how do you feel?
Serene. I just kind of go with the flow with whatever God has got in store for me. And, I mean, it’s all glory to God.

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What is the greatest joy that you have now?

The opportunity that Major gave me [to be employed by The Salvation Army]. Being able to stick around and be able to be a vital part of the Salvation Army. To be a part of the team. The reason that I am strong is the reason the Salvation Army does what it does. To be just even a small part of that, is a great feeling. It’s a great cause. Helping burdened families that have lost everything. Being able to show them that we do care. To be a part of that, it is a pretty neat feeling.

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“He is doing something for a reason and I don’t know. I will eventually know the answers but today I don’t and all I can do is trust. And that is what I’ll do.”

Women’s Auxiliary Provides Shelter Renovation Funds

September 28, 2016

It’s been an exciting month at the Fayetteville Shelter- renovation day finally arrived!! The Women’s Auxiliary chose the shelter as their first project and used the funds raised from the NWA Boutique Show last fall to provide the space with a whole new look!

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“The Women’s Auxiliary functions as a fundraising and volunteer service group, assisting The Salvation Army in meeting the needs of others at their point of need,” says Major Mary Matthews, Associate Area Commander and director of the group. “This Chapter was established in March of 2014 and since then has already made a significant impact in the lives of thousands through programs provided by The Salvation Army.  

Their most current project, just completed, was the renovation of the Fayetteville Emergency Shelter intake and day room.  This was the first large project taken on be the Auxiliary women and was a much needed update!”  

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The women have been looking forward to this renovation day for months and are excited to finally see the room put together.

What’s up next for this amazing group of ladies?

“We are currently in the development stages for our 1st annual fundraising event (May 2017)  which will support a new program called Pathway of Hope.  This program addresses the root causes of poverty through individualized services to families hoping to break generational cycles of crisis and vulnerability. This program fits the missional purpose of this Auxiliary which desires to make a generational impact in the lives of families (women & children). -Major Mary Matthews

 

BEFORE & AFTER

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We are so grateful to the women who helped make this happen and look forward to more great things out of the Women’s Auxiliary! To learn more about the organization and how to join, check out our webpage http://salvationarmyaok.org/nwarkansas/auxiliary-board/

 

 

Celebrate Fall with Thrifty Finds

September 22, 2016

GUEST POST | Talya Boerner of Grace, Grits and Gardening

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Fall has arrived bringing all my favorite things—turning leaves, harvest on the farm, and the promise of cooler weather.  I like to celebrate it, too, by enjoying supper outside. Something as easy as a change of scenery can feel cathartic after a long summer!

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Spiff up your tablescape up with a few “new to you” thrifty finds from your local Salvation Army store, and you’ll swear you’re on vacation.

Thrifting is a treasure hunt for me, and I can spend hours (okay, days) on the prowl for that next fun find. Come along with me as I share a few of my thrifting tips and recap my recent trip to the Salvation Army store in Rogers.

Go with a plan and a budget.
I knew I wanted to freshen up my fall dining decor so I focused on kitchenware and knickknacks with an autumn flair. And I limited myself to a $25 dollar budget.

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Keep a creative, open mind.
Channel your craftiest self. Can you paint it, clean it, or repurpose it in a unique way?

Take your time and leave no stone unturned.
Go when you have lots of time to browse. Make several passes through the store. Be sure to hit the craft area. Look under tables and in boxes. Jewels have a tendency to hide.

Research items.
If you find something you want to know more about, Google it. You have your smartphone with you, right? You never know when you may uncover a valuable antique.

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So what did I buy??

2 stoneware dinner plates $1.00 each

2 green salad plates $1.00 each

2 mismatched saucers (Homer Laughlin) $0.80 each

Small pitcher $1.00

Vintage glass mug $1.00

Large round platter with flower patterned motif $3.00

Ceramic owl bank (unpainted) $1.00

Turkey (made from feathers and leaves) $2.00

2 candlesticks $1.00

Fabric scrap (great colors!) $1.00

Small piece of granite $2.00 (cheeseboard or candle base?)

Bag of brown leather-ish flowers $1.00

Roll of ribbon $1.00

Heavy acorn $2.00

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I wasn’t sure what I would do with the flowers or ribbon, but I decided to make garland with it. The bag contained LOTS of flowers, and when I ran out of my new ribbon, I dug into my own stash. Stringing garland makes any party more festive, don’t you think?

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I’m a sucker for mismatched plates, and I love these!!!

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The ceramic owl? He’s technically a piggy bank with a slot in the back. I spray painted him using leftover paint I had in the garage, placed him on my $3.00 platter, added a little cotton (from our farm), and topped the vignette with a glass cloche. Instant centerpiece!

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My before table on our side porch looked plain and boring after a serious case of end-of-summer neglect…

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Afterwards, I’m ready to ring in fall!

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I’m always surprised at how far my money will go when I buy second-chance items.
Happy Fall, y’all!

***

Want more from Talya?
You can catch up with her on…

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Talya draws inspiration from nature and appreciates the history behind food, family, places and vintage things. She blogs at Grace, Grits and Gardening and has been published in Arkansas Review, Front Porch Magazine, Delta Crossroads and several on-line publications including Deep South Magazine. Talya believes most any dish can be improved with a side of collard greens. Her award-winning debut novel, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, is available at Barnes & Noble, via Amazon, and at certain indie bookstores.

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8th Annual Golf Tournament Drives it Home!

September 14, 2016

No trouble in paradise at the Paradise Valley Golf Course last week! The Salvation Army’s 8th Annual Charity Golf Tournament was a huge success! Some great teams and sponsors came out for the afternoon flight to support the event put on by the Advisory Board.

20 teams played in the tournament which raised a total of $7,000 for The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas. 

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“Most participants in a weekday golf tournament have been afforded a life that allows them to be able to participate in an event like this. So many in our community do not have the opportunity to take a day off of work for golf, take a day off at all, or even have a job to take off from,” says Tim Cotton, President of the Advisory Board of Northwest Arkansas and owner of Northwest Electric.

“I personally have been blessed to have not only what I need, but also influences that have shown me the importance of giving back to this community.

Few organizations operate in the manner that The Salvation Army does, helping people in need regain their footing not only financially, but spiritually as well. I look forward to seeing the growth of The Salvation Army, volunteer support, and community awareness and involvement as we move forward.”

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How far does $7,000 go??

According to USA Today, the cost of dinner for a low-income family of four averages to $191 per week. With the money raised from the tournament, The Salvation Army will be able to feed approximately 260 families (of four) for a day or 36 families each night for a week.

Additionally, a night of shelter costs roughly $12.50 per person, shows research from EFSP. That’s 560 nights of shelter we can offer because of the proceeds from the tournament.

So thank you, to everyone who participated for helping us to Do The Most Good in Northwest Arkansas! Keep scrolling to see pictures from the event, meet our 2016 champions, and thank the sponsors that helped make it happen!

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Drumrolllllll, please!! We are thrilled to announce the winner of the tournament- this year’s champions: Lindsey Management!!

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Lindsey Management: 2016 CHAMPIONS!

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Many teams competed for the honor of being the 2016 Putting Competition Champions (and owner of a brand new SEGWAY Mini Pro!!), but only one was victorious! Congratulations to Tarek Taha with the Fellowship Fayetteville Team!!

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Some additional contributors include: Gary Howard, Mike Lyman, Upchurch Electrical, Tom McDonald, and Eric McGee. And we want to give a special thanks to our Food and Hole Sponsors- we truly could not have done it without them!

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And a big thank you to all the teams that came out and participated. Mark your calendars for 2017– we will see ya next year!!


To learn more about the Advisory Board at The Salvation Army and get information on joining, check out our webpage!

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Free Haircuts for Doing Good

September 8, 2016

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Mrs. Joann is a beautiful lady with lots of spunk and plenty of love for her neighbors in South Fayetteville. She is the owner of Joann’s Barber Shop, and she has chosen to give back in a unique way to this community.

She gives free haircuts to the men going through our addiction recovery program!

She encourages them to keep doing good in their lives- that’s all the payment she needs for her hair-cutting services.

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“If everyone would choose to be kind, there’d be a lot more good in the world”, says Mrs. Joann.

And she is choosing to make good with her gifts! Each and every guy going through our 6 month alcohol and drug recovery program is able to walk over to her shop anytime for a free cut. Mrs. Joann attended Barber School in Oklahoma City when she was 17 years old and has been cutting hair ever since!

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Gary met Mrs. Joann for the first time when he walked over from the shelter to get his haircut. After getting his cut, he asked her how much he owed. “Nothing for you was her answer”, says Gary. “She just wanted me to keep doing good in the program.”

A big thanks to Mrs. Joanna for using her gift to make a difference!! You can visit her and her beautician Adam on S School in Fayetteville for an awesome haircut and a friendly hello!

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Hosting Tips and Lemonade Sips

August 25, 2016

GUEST POST | Blake Reynolds of The Colour Journal

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One of my favorite things to do has always been to host gatherings or get togethers with friends. Schedules can get so busy that it really takes intentionality and effort to have time with the people you love.

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A few hosting tips

When I plan gatherings, I have three things in mind: Bring people together, make it memorable, and keep it affordable. Today I want to share with you how The Salvation Army can help you with all three!

One of my favorite ways to make a night special is by having a signature drink for the evening. With summer temps getting higher and higher, I thought I’d show you a fun, affordable way to elevate your next gathering by serving up a blueberry lemonade to keep your guests cool!

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A little presentation goes a lonnngg way!

The easy route most people go when serving refreshments is straight out of the container, but an easy way to elevate your presentation at a gathering is to have nice glassware to serve it in. The Salvation Army Thrift Stores have so much glassware to choose from at such an affordable price. Each of these items were only 50 cents a piece!

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The Salvation Army had such a big selection that I decided to choose a couple different styles of glasses. The bigger glass would be perfect for a kids back to school bash, while the fancier glass would be great for an adult dinner party! Grab some garnishes, and you’ve got yourself a good-looking summer lemonade to elevate any party you host!

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Are you a party-planner? What are some of your favorite budget-friendly hosting tips?

Want to find a Salvation Army Thrift Store near you?? Get all locations in Northwest Arkansas –> HERE!


Want more from Blake?
You can catch up with her at…

https://thecolourjournal.com/
Instagram: @blazzle
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blake-reynolds-29705a92

***Blake Reynolds is a creative living in Fayetteville, AR with hands in design, photography, blogging, and marketing. She spends her weekdays working as a Graphic Designer at Collective Bias HQ, and her weekends curating content for her own personal blog, The Colour Journal. Her passion lies in using creativity to inspire others around her to become more of their truest selves, walking out confidently in their own unique purpose and ability.