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Emergency Shelter

Bentonville Shelter 20th Anniversary Celebration

September 14, 2017

“Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and taking action. It’s the impetus for creating change.”

-Max Carver

(Bentonville, AR) 20 years ago, there was a need. Northwest Arkansas was growing, as companies like Walmart, Tyson and J.B. Hunt pushed the economy forward. Bentonville, AR, a once small community, began to see unparalleled growth.

But not all felt this swell of positive change. As the general population increased, so did homelessness. And there was no refuge for them. The community saw this need, and through the work of The Salvation Army and local partners, a plan was born to build an emergency crisis shelter in Benton County. In September of 1997, the shelter was officially opened to the public, dedicated in honor of Pat and Willard Walker, visionary philanthropists in Northwest Arkansas and strong supporters of The Salvation Army’s work.

20 years later, the community comes together to celebrate the immense impact made in the lives of the hurting and broken through the work of The Salvation Army Emergency Shelter in Bentonville. In the past decade alone, the shelter has provided 75,982 nights of housing to over 7,600 guests, and it continues to meet needs in the community each day.

Mayor Bob McCaslin of Bentonville opened the ceremony Wednesday, September 6th with an invocation, giving thanks to God for the refuge The Salvation Army provides to those in need in Northwest Arkansas. Mayor of Bentonville, since 2006, Bob McCaslin has seen the work of the Bentonville Emergency Shelter in action in his community for over a decade.

Following the invocation, the Bentonville Chamber of Commerce performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony as Captain Joshua Robinett rededicated the Bentonville Shelter to the work of the Lord in Northwest Arkansas.

Attendees were then taken on a tour of the building. They saw where the men congregate to play games and watch TV before heading to their assigned bunks in the dorm room. They toured each family room, walls lined with beds and cribs, that have lulled so many children experiencing trauma to sleep. They got to touch the books, toys, and desks where students work on their homework and play with their siblings, trying to forget the hardships they have endured. Each shelter guest who comes through the doors holds a unique story, but all are seeking refuge. Providing the community with the opportunity to see, hear, and feel those hardships personally as they walk room to room cultivates compassion. And compassion is a catalyst that begs one not just watch need pass by, but rather, inspires action and compels change.

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20 years ago, a need was met in the community of Northwest Arkansas. And needs continue to be met every day. Therefore, “we rededicate this Salvation Army Emergency Shelter for the service of God, the communities of Northwest Arkansas, and those in the greatest need.  May it continue to be a beacon of hope and healing to the vulnerable and hurting for many years to come.” -Captain Joshua Robinett. May it always be a place that sparks empathy to act, and action to make a difference.

Shelter Tours: A fall learning series

August 10, 2017

Dear Community,

Please consider joining us for our fall series: Shelter Tours.

We will be hosting several meet and greet tours this fall to share about homelessness in our community and The Salvation Army’s work to aid those in need.

A Few Facts:

  • As of 2017, there are approximately 2,951 homeless in Northwest Arkansas. Over HALF of that number is represented by children in K-12th grades.++
  • The homeless population in NWA has increased by 152% since 2007, whereas, the general population has only grown by 12%.++
  • In 2016, we provided over 24,217 nights of shelter between our two Emergency Shelters.
  • Additionally, we provided 93,590 meals to men, women, and children who experienced food insecurity.

++Statistics from the 2017 Point-In-Time survey conducted in Northwest Arkansas.

Join us on one of our shelter tours this fall to learn more, ask questions, and better understand the experience of the homeless in Northwest Arkansas. RSVP is not required.

Women & Family Dorms Spruce

May 30, 2017

The big reveal is finally here, and we are so excited to show off our newly renovated spaces! We have a few thank-you’s that we want to make before we show it off.

  1. Our Women’s Auxiliary did a wonderful job at the annual NWA Boutique Show this past year and raised over $11,000!! The largest portion of our renovation budget was provided by them.
  2. Genesis Church- They have been the best partners we could ask for, and this renovation is no exception! They gave time, money and supplies to make it happen. Thanks for painting our walls, providing our ceiling tiles, paying for the flooring and more!
  3. Carpet One- The team at Carpet One did a lovely job laying our new flooring. Really, it is like a whole new space in there.

And nowwwww… the REVEAL!!

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–Before–

Women’s Dorm

Women’s Dorm

Family Dorm

Family Dorm- bathroom

Women’s Dorm- the progress

Genesis Church helpers

Fabulous new flooring from Carpet One

–After–

Women’s Auxiliary Members in the Family Dorm

Women’s Dorm- bathroom

Family dorm and child’s welcome kit

Family Dorm- bathroom

Thank you, thank you to everyone who made this possible!
We are a happier, homier shelter because of your generosity.

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/

 

 

Family Room Adopted by Local Church

August 1, 2016

The Neighborhood Church in Bentonville seeks to make an impact in their community and in their neighborhood everyday. And what better way to reach the neighborhood than to connect with the homeless shelter right down the street from your new building location!? That’s how we got connected to this amazing group of people-they reached out, they asked to be a part, and then they came!

“At the end of the service, we often say ‘the worship is over, but the service is not’. We want to be present in our community and to impact lives.” Cheryl and Colleen, The Neighborhood Church

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The Neighborhood Church adopted one of our three family rooms at the Bentonville Shelter. All decorations, furniture, and linens were provided by them! The room truly has a whole new feel. It’s like walking into an updated apartment rather than a room an emergency shelter.

“Giving back like this makes a bigger impact than you’ll ever know. When people come in and see a nice room it calms anxiety and helps them move from a state of chaos to stability, from despair to hope.”
Danny Camarillo, The Salvation Army, Bentonville Shelter Director

Take a look at the before and after shots! And a huge thank you to The Neighborhood Church for taking that first step and making a difference for your neighbors!

Neighborhood Church Before and AfterTNC Update 2

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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