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Volunteer Spotlight: Maggie Berry

July 2, 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Maggie Berry, Rogers, Arkansas

When Maggie Berry retired after 40 years as a medical professional, she wasn’t exactly sure how she would use her free time to make a difference, but she had a few ideas. With a love for arts and crafts and a desire to restore forgotten or used items, Maggie said that God laid it on her heart to share her time with The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas.

It didn’t take long for store manager Kari Luff to find the perfect place for Maggie to begin creating – the extra stock room at the Rogers Family Thrift store. This room is a gathering place for donated wreaths, ribbon spools, floral arrangements, and various odds and ends. Often, it is where items that need a little TLC or some extra glue end up. For Maggie, this space has become a sanctuary where she can create, restore and find a way to share kindness through creative design.

During the past three months, Maggie has volunteered more than 100 hours. If you stop by our store, it won’t take long for you to find an item that she has fixed, designed or restored.  From custom-painted shutters to refurbished tables and chairs, to carefully designed wreaths, gift baskets, and windows, there seems to be no limit to what she can do, much to her surprise. “I didn’t even know I could do all this stuff,” Maggie shared with a laugh. “Sometimes you get so stuck in a rut and think you can do only one thing, but you can do so much more.” For Maggie, retirement has allowed her to reconnect with her creative side, and she is enjoying every moment.

When asked why she volunteers Maggie’s answer is simple, “I volunteer because God gave me these wonderful gifts and skills that I can use to help people. For me, it is about spreading kindness, and our world needs a little more kindness.”

Volunteering with The Salvation Army helps Maggie get to know her community better. Each week, she talks with customers, staff and the men who are in part of The Salvation Army’s rehabilitation program.   In many ways, Maggie’s work represents the transformation that is happening in the lives of so many people but especially for the men in our recovery program who came to The Salvation Army to find hope and healing.

“Our society is such a throwaway world. We want to throw away things that are used or broken – even if they might still be useful. For me, it is wonderful to see how you can repurpose or reuse something and shared kindness at the same time,” Maggie shared.

Proceeds the pieces Maggie restores, and other items purchased at The Salvation Army stores, help provide food, shelter, and resources to support our free drug and alcohol recovery program. If you have an interest in volunteering, let us know, we’d love to get you connected with our team. Learn more about volunteering with The Salvation Army of NWA at www.nwasalvationarmy.org/volunteering.

Spring Transformation for Bentonville Shelter

May 24, 2018

It is a beautiful thing to see life change in action. We see this often as we meet with people who have lost hope. Individuals who have had a rough turn of events or who have hit the end of the road because of addiction. People continue to seek out The Salvation Army as a place to find hope and help.  A recent transformation to our garden and landscaping at our Bentonville shelter in many ways represents the change that is happening for guests at our shelters.

This spring several volunteer groups helped us transform our indoor and outdoor spaces. Volunteer teams from throughout the community took our overgrown garden and brought it back to life, groups helped repair our men’s bathroom, de-weeded the entry and provide fresh mulch for the entire front portion of the shelter. These changes are an encouragement to us at The Salvation Army but even more so to the guests who walk through our doors. Below are some before and after photos that capture the improvements.

Thank you to teams from Walmart, the United Way, Neighborhood Church, and some key volunteers like Julie Carr, Tom Richards and Ken Mangold. This wouldn’t have been possible without you!
Thank you for your generosity, time and skill!


Garden Transformation

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Front Landscaping & Mulch

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Bathroom Repair & Pantry Organization

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Summer Brings New Client-Choice Pantry & Meals for Fayetteville Kids

May 18, 2018

New Client Choice Food Pantry & Summer Program
Kids, parents, teachers and really everyone looks forward to Summer – taking a swim at the local pool, heading to camp, enjoying some time off, and simply changing up the routine. And while Summer is often a highlight, it can also be a challenge for families and kids who are short on food.

To help meet the needs of our community, The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas has partnered with Fayetteville Public Schools (FPS) to identify and provide meals for kids who are home during the summer months. Our new client-choice Food Pantry in Fayetteville will officially open Friday, June 1 at 9 am. FPS families, who signed up through the school district, will have the opportunity to “shop” the pantry every Friday for 11 weeks at no cost.

This is the first client-choice Food Pantry for The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas and it offers a whole new way to think about food insecurity. “We are excited to begin providing food for families in this way. Often times families are given a box of food but the items inside may not fit their needs in the best way,” said Captain Josh Robinett, NWA Area Commander. “By opening a client-choice food pantry we are giving families dignity and caring for their needs on a more individualized basis. This helps us love and care for the people of our community even more.”

The Salvation Army Client-Choice Food Pantry will be open every Friday, June 1 through August 10 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. The pantry will be housed in our  Activity Center building located at 219 W 15th street, Fayetteville, AR. Each week the pantry will be stocked with food options that kids and families can easily prepare for breakfast and lunch. Additionally, this pantry will provide for Washington County clients throughout the week by appointment.

To celebrate the opening of this pantry, we are hosting a Ribbon-Cutting on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 10 AM. All are welcome to attend and tour the new pantry space.

This project would not be possible without support from the Walmart Foundation, the NWA Food Bank, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, Fayetteville Public Schools, and many volunteers. Together, we have been able to develop a summer program that will meet the needs of hungry families in our community. During the past three months, our team has worked to create this new shopping space. The project has included a complete remodel of our warehouse, the installation and addition of refrigeration coolers, lighting and shelving, plus the addition of many new food products – which will be added throughout the summer.

As we begin this new program, we are looking for volunteers to help stock the pantry and serve as shopping assistants each Friday. If you’d like to help in this way, please sign up for a shift here, or give us a call.

For more questions, please contact us at 479-521-2151 x 103, email jennifer.brown@uss.salvationarmy.org.