Monthly Archives

February 2016

Transformation

February 22, 2016

One of the most incredible things The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas is able to offer is a free Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Program. Here’s a little info on our program:

  • It is a 6 month, faith-based work therapy program.
  • We currently offer 16 beds.
  • It is totally free of charge to the men who attend.

Brian is going to tell you his story. But before he does, will you just take a moment to celebrate with us?! In the last two weeks, we have had two men graduate from our program, and we have another FIVE up for graduation over the course of the next four weeks! We are beating the odds! For a quick look at drug abuse statistics in America, check here.

Now, for a story about a life changed that is guaranteed to change your life.

Brian 1

How did you find The Salvation Army?
I was in my third drug and alcohol treatment program. They had all been thirty day programs before this one [at The Salvation Army]. I called a man named Jim Reaves, a good, good man. He helped save my life. I told him they wouldn’t let me leave my program unless I had a sponsor to talk to when I got back to Northwest Arkansas.

He told me to come see him as soon as I got back in town and we’d talk. He owns Razorback Pizza, so we met at the one on 6th Street, and he told me about the [Salvation Army] recovery program. That was in 2000.

But between 2000 and 2002, I had to do what we like to call “research”. I was stealing stuff, lying, cheating; I was a pretty vile character. I had been down that path before but not to this extent. And that was after I had already gone through three recovery programs.

In 2002, I hit rock bottom.
I snuck into my daughter’s bedroom and stole money out of her piggy bank so I could buy alcohol or drugs or whatever I was longing for at the time. It was heart-breaking but it wasn’t enough to curb me. Addiction is pretty strong.

Finally, I went through the program and graduated December 26th of 2002. And I have been here since that day!

Brian 4

Did you want to be in the program when you started in 2002?
To be honest with you, when I came here to stay my four months for the program, I was not there to get sober. I thought, “OK, I’ll go through the program and do what I need to do to make people think I am getting sober”.

But this is what proves to me that God is gonna come find you wherever you’re at.
I was lying in my bunk one day thinking about how I could get away with [my addiction] better the next time rather than latching onto a cure. If I could just hold on a little longer, and get away with it a little better where I don’t get caught next time, things will be OK.

But God came to me, and he said, “No, I have better plans for you.”
He said, “We are building an army out of the sick, out of the oppressed, the lonely and broken-hearted. There are other people out there going through the same situation as you are. They have gone down the same roads that you’ve gone down, and they are going to learn something from the pain that you’ve gone through.”

What makes this program work?
The first thing that has to go is all the junk [in your heart]. Once the confession was there, the healing began. Once I met Jesus at the foot of the Cross, then healing came. And real, genuine love- I could finally understand it. It was a life changing event.

Then there is the absolute love that the men in the Corps (church) have for the people in the program. They took care of my family while I was in the program. They paid bills. They pretty much put themselves out there to help me and my family be successful. Their love made me want to come back. It really stuck strong with me.

Also, the camaraderie of the men that I went to the program with was way different than anything I had ever experienced before. We were all actually invested in changing our lives and the lives of people around us. It’s amazing how beautiful it is when everyone around you is of a like mind. There is no judgment. All we were trying to do was please God.

Briand 5

What do you currently do with The Salvation Army?
I head maintenance for Northwest Arkansas Area Command.

By trade, I am a master electrician. I prayed to God that if The Salvation Army was where He wanted me to serve, then He would open a door for me. I was in between jobs when the new Major came in and they presented me with a job.

It is such a blessing that I never thought would come true. I am around the program guys every single day. I actually get to work with one of them! I get to tell them what the Lord did for me and what he can do for them. I spend time with them, because that’s what was done for me.

What would you say to addicts who are struggling?

You have never gone too far, to not be brought back.
There is absolutely no distance that you can go, which you can’t come back from. There is no depth too deep that God won’t bring you back from if you seek him. And that’s the truest thing I’ve ever said.

Living sober is absolutely attainable; it’s not impossible. Once you move from one side of the fence to the other, life is so much better. The worries are less, the stress is less. There are so many benefits to living a sober lifestyle. It is indescribable.

Brian 6

What would you like to tell our community about The Salvation Army?
God is moving in this place. People are being helped; lives are being changed. There are a million things I could say, but I think the most important is that lives are being changed for the good.

I saw a picture one time.
It’s simple but it blew my mind.

You see the sea of despair. There are ten foot waves and people all in it. Up the valley there is a line of people, hand-in-hand, all the way to the edge of the water. The people who just came out of the water are dripping water, and they are reaching their hands down into the sea to pull the drowning up this hill.

And that’s the way it is here. Exactly how it is here.

The love that these guys showed me when I was a horrible, horrible person and didn’t deserve anything was amazing. For them to love and accept me for who I was, to try and lead me in a different direction, that meant everything in the world to me.

That’s why I keep hanging out with the guys here.
Cause I love them, and I am one of them.


Is someone you love in need of transformation?
Please give us a call at 479-521-2151.

Want to give back to men in recovery?
You can donate online here.

Relief

February 15, 2016

Bread Rack

Most people know that we provide emergency shelter, and I think the community knows that we have thrift stores as well (see our post “Opportunity”, if you don’t!) But our Social Service Program is a different story. Our Social Service Team meets a variety of difficult needs day in and day out. They are truly the hands and feet of Jesus and do their jobs joyfully, with little recognition.

Daily, they hear stories of loss, hurt, and need.
Daily, they provide love and support to the broken.
Daily, they seek to “Do the Most Good” with our resources.
And daily, they change lives in need for the better with small tokens of support.

In case you aren’t very familiar with the help we provide, here’s a little list.

 Services we offer
• Utility bill assistance
• Food Bags
• Thrift store clothing vouchers
• Furniture vouchers for home disaster
• Baby diapers and formula
• School supplies
• Box fans in the summer
• Angel Tree Christmas assistance
• And really any other need that we can feasibly fill

Diapers

Reading this, you may not be able to identify with these needs. Perhaps you have never needed help feeding your family, or feared your heat being shut off in winter, or wondered how you your growing toddler will have clothes when they hit that next big growth spurt.

But many of the people we see didn’t see it coming either.

These are their stories.

Mom (3)

Mom (2)

Bus

vet (1)

A word from our Social Service Director, Greg Chambers

Valentines

“The Salvation Army provides these services so people will have food on the table and clothes on their backs.  Most people have struggled financially at one time or another.  If The Salvation Army can pay an electric bill one month or help with their prescription medications, then maybe, it’s just the help a family needs to get through a tough time.  Most all of our programs are funded by generous donations from the community.”

If you want to give back with us, donating is simple! Just click the link here and get started!

Give

Statistics (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015)

  • 2,353 individuals helped through Social Services
  • 2,013 children provided gifts through Angel Tree
  • Over 70,000 meals provided (hot meals, food bags, Thanksgiving, Christmas meals)

Paperwork

Need Help or Assistance? Let us help you.
In order to receive services, clients need to call and make an appointment. The case manager will tell them what they need to bring.

Fayetteville (479) 521-2151
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am – 12pm and 1pm – 3:30pm.
Springdale (479) 751-2077
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm.
Rogers (479) 636-8522
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4:30pm.
Siloam Springs (479) 524-2084
Wednesdays 10am- 1pm and 2pm – 4:30pm.

Refuge

February 8, 2016

Each year, we provide over 20,000 nights of emergency shelter.
Last year, we serviced nearly 900 families with children under 18 years old.
In the Bentonville school district alone, there were 398 children considered homeless in 2015. This makes Bentonville home to the highest population of homeless children in NW Arkansas.+

There is a great need to care for the individuals and families in our community who need shelter. At The Salvation Army, we want for the abandoned, lost, hurt, and broken to find shelter in our doors.

We pray that we are a refuge for the many families we serve.
Families like Michelle’s.

Stairs

How did you find The Salvation Army?

At the time, I had just moved here to Fayetteville from New Orleans. When we got here, we had nowhere to go. My daughter was involved in a horrible situation in New Orleans. We went into police protection and had to leave New Orleans immediately. All we had with us was three changes of clothing and our medications.

We hooked up with Peace at Home at first, and they referred us to The Salvation Army. Normally, it’s only a 10 day stay [at the shelter]. We applied for more permanent housing at Seven Hills, but there was a waiting list.

So the Majors talked about our situation with the school social workers, and they extended our stay over the allotted amount of time. We got to stay for a month and two weeks until we got accepted at Seven Hills. We moved straight from the shelter into this town-home.

Photo Dec 22, 5 10 24 PM

What did the shelter mean to your family?

It was amazing. We were able to have food, a roof over our heads, and a church. It meant we were secure. We had a safety net during a real hard time. And without The Salvation Army, I don’t know what would have happened to us. We had nowhere else to go.

We were able to get food, clothing, have somewhere to sleep, and shower.
It was a wonderful place for us.

And even though we have a home now, being [at the shelter] is what I am the most grateful for. Someone opened the door to us. If The Salvation Army had have closed their doors on us, I don’t know what would have happened. With all this cold that just came through, we might have frozen to death. We would have lived in a tent, I don’t know.

So I am just gonna say that I’m grateful, because we had people willing to take us in.  The Majors came in and opened up their hearts. Being genuinely welcomed, that’s what I am grateful for.

Photo Jan 27, 3 22 42 PM

How does your life look different because of the shelter?

Things were difficult in New Orleans. I was very stressed out and worried about my missing child. Nothing was working out, and my life felt like it was falling apart, slipping through my fingers.

We’ve been at peace since being here, and the Salvation Army is really the major part of that, because it started there. That was our starting point.

It is still overwhelming some days, but at the same time, it takes time. As time passes on, everything heals itself. You don’t forget, but you let it go. We had to leave everything, but we were blessed to get everything back. Not exactly the same things, but we got everything back.

This place feels better than home.

What would you say to other people, especially moms, going through a tough time?

  1. It is rough, but don’t give up.

Don’t ever give up. If you give up, you are letting the situation control your life. I cried and cried and prayed and cried, but I didn’t give up. You have to keep going, especially for the kids.

  1. Tell someone about your problem, and ask for help.

It is OK to ask for help. My momma always used to say, “closed mouths don’t get fed”. Everyone needs someone to talk to, and you never know what will happen.

  1. Go to The Salvation Army.

You never know who can help you. And if you don’t know, ask. Your life can take a drastic change. You may be on the streets now, but things can change.

Photo Jan 27, 3 21 42 PM

Is there anything about The Salvation Army you would want to share with our commnuity?

The Salvation Army changed and helped me and my family when we had nowhere to go. They were right there, never giving up on us. They even gave us extra allotted time that we weren’t supposed to have, just to make sure that me and my kids had a roof over our heads.

And your donations help tremendously. My kids were given so many things. Their Christmas was wonderful- they got to do Angel Tree. They got Christmas presents out the woodworks!! The kids got so much that they were able to share what they got with other kids in the neighborhood.

We got a lot through The Salvation Army. And when I get more money, that’s what we are gonna do [give back to The Salvation Army]. We want to be able to help another family.

+2015 Community and Family Homeless Report, Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick PH.D., Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice

Opportunity

February 1, 2016

Photo Nov 05, 4 29 31 PM

What are the first words that come to your mind when I say “thrift store”? Do any of these make the list: discounts, charity, used, donations, college house furnishings, white elephant gift?

What if I told you that the word I think of is opportunity? That may come as a surprise to you, but to us, the thrift stores offer a world of possibility. At The Salvation Army, our thrift stores, also known as “Family Stores”, provide us with incredible opportunities in our community.

  1. They are a major source of funding for our free Alcohol and Addiction Recovery Program.
  2. They provide employment for individuals and families in need of work.
  3. They enable low-income families to own needed things like couches, tables, clothing, beds, and dishes that might not otherwise be affordable.
  4. We give out store vouchers to people in need. That means they get to shop for free!!

These are all incredible ways that we are able to serve NW Arkansas through your donations at our stores. But I don’t just want to give you the facts; I would like to tell you a story.

That story is Ivan.
He is a kind, dynamic, fun-loving, hard-working employee at our Fayetteville Thrift Store. He greets everyone with a smile and “Hello!” and makes you feel like a million bucks!! Not a day goes by without Ivan’s cheerful heart and lovable spirit brightening the day of our customers.

Ivan 5

But this hasn’t always been Ivan’s story.
Let him share with you how his life has been transformed from the darkness of addiction to the light of life and forgiveness through Jesus with the help of The Salvation Army.

Ivan 1

“I had just recently been out of jail. I was homeless, cause I was a bad alcoholic. And I somehow found my way over to the Springdale Thrift Store thinking it was the shelter. They referred me over here to the shelter in Fayetteville.

They made sure I sobered up so that I could start staying in the shelter, and they helped me get everything I needed to get into the [Alcohol and Addiction Recovery] Program.

I had lost everything. I didn’t have anywhere to go.
I didn’t have a penny to my name. Literally, I had spent all my money drinking. I gave away everything I owned for booze, [and soon] I was out on the streets homeless. I had been in and out of recovery programs before, but this time, they were so good to me I couldn’t leave.

I was home. And I am too old to not be having a home. For once in my life, it stuck, and I graduated from the program in October of 2013.

I was blessed and got hired by them right when I got out. It was a cashier job [at the Fayetteville Thrift Store]. I’ve been here ever since!”

Ivan 2

“Now, I have my own apartment. And I bought everything in my apartment, except for my microwave, at The Salvation Army Store. I mean, living room, bedroom, kitchen, it’s all Salvation Army stuff. I’ve spent all my money back here. And I was able to pay for it all because of my job here. My microwave would have been from here too but my old one went out on the weekend when we were closed, so I went out and bought an emergency one!

They’ve been really good to me. They are a family to me. I don’t know why or how, but I have been fortunate that way. It’s been a blessing.

I lost a lot; I was way out there. But now, I’ve gained a lot back.

My daughter is even getting ready to come visit me. But it has all been because of The Salvation Army. I give everything I have, 100% for The Salvation Army. I love it here!”

Is the word Opportunity fitting to describe our stores?
“Oh yah, for sure! We do a lot of community vouchers for the homeless. A family came in the other day with one. Their daughter pointed at something and was like, ‘Can I really get that? Can I really?’ It was a coat that she needed. And it was free for them. Sometimes I will go tell my boss, ‘That last voucher, it really hit my heart. It felt good to do that.’ And to know that I was in that boat too, but now by the grace of God, I’m not. It’s a good feeling.”

I love the thrift store! Can you tell!?
Now I get to be a part of giving back to the community!

Ivan 6

What would you say to the community about The Salvation Army?
Contribute as much as you can. Everything that comes in here goes back to the community to help the hungry and the homeless. I leave here feeling so blessed, but I mean, I was there.

Ivan 4

Now isn’t that a story worth telling and celebrating?!
We have the privilege of meeting the Ivan’s of our community everyday. Men and women who have hit hard times and simply need someone to walk alongside them and give them a hand up. Please consider donating to our stores: it is truly changing lives. You can also donate online to The Salvation Army of NW Arkansas here.

Ivan 7

Family Store Fun Facts:
• .86 cents of every dollar made in the stores goes directly towards our programs
• We have 4 stores in NWA: Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Siloam Springs
• Last week, we got in 60 year-old vintage board game classics (Clue, Life, Monopoly) valued at $100 each on Ebay!

Thrift Store Locations
1645 S. West Ave. Fayetteville
329 Holcomb St Springdale
2223 W. Walnut St. Rogers
1971 Hwy. 421 E Siloam Springs