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The Angel Tree and Red Kettle Round-Up

January 4, 2017


The Christmas Season has finally wrapped up and the New Year is underway!! And we think the best way to celebrate the New Year is by reflecting on all the joys of last year. 2016 was an incredible year for The Salvation Army, and it was only made possible by this community!! So for that, we thank you!

Now, we know you all have been wondering- just how much did the Kettles raise this year?? And how many angels were adopted through the Angel Tree program? Well, DRUMROLLLLL…. because we are thrilled to tell!


Because of your generosity (and some pretty awesome bell ringers^^^), we were able to raise $343,952 across Northwest Arkansas this year!! So thank you, thank YOU for giving. We are truly so grateful. Curious as to where the money goes after the Kettle? You can see how we use the money throughout the year >>> HERE!

Check out some of our favorite moments from the bell ringing season!

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Selfie with a cop made its debut this year from the Benton County Sheriff Department!

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Our very own bell ringer Gary Shipley had an article published on his banjo playing!

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JB Hunt competed for a week to raise over $7,500 for The Salvation Army!!

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Sometimes ringing is so fun, you have to bring 15 friends to one Kettle!


Many of you gave in a different way this Christmas Season- you gave to the Angel Tree!! And once again we had an AMAZING year!! Every single child was adopted by our community and corporate donors this year- Woo!! Way to go, Northwest Arkansas!

We were able to serve 2,113 children this year, because of your generosity! That’s over 750 families who had Christmas gifts under the tree and a Christmas meal on the table.

Here are some of our favorite Angel Tree moments of the season!!

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We filled a warehouse as long as a football field with gifts you generously provided!

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Jim’s Razorback Pizza provided some awesome food for our volunteers.

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Tyson, The Pack Shack, Schmieding Produce, and Arkansas Egg Company provided meals for our angel families.

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These cute kiddos donated over 400 pairs of socks at Folsom Elementary school to help those in need.


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!


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:

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

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!


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.

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!


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!


Our Community

December 23, 2015

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It has been an amazing Kettle Season here at The Salvation Army and we want to share it with you! We cannot make a difference in NW Arkansas without the support of our community. This Christmas blog series has introduced leaders of change, but truly, each and every individual who has served alongside us this year is #afaceofchange to us. We want to highlight many of the amazing memories and moments we have experienced this season: the heart-warming stories, the laughter, the joy, and the people who have supported us. Thank you for bringing the Christmas Spirit to Northwest Arkansas. Thank you for being our #redkettlereason!

Merry & Bright,
The Salvation Army of NW Arkansas

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Why do you guys want to ring bells?

“I want to ring bells to help get money for people who do not have houses.” -Hudson (5)
“I want to ring because I never did it before. And because I want to sell money!” -Oliver (4)

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Paul Bingham, Senior Vice President Sales, J B Hunt Transport

“This experience has really changed my perspective on the significance of ringing the bell for The Salvation Army. So many times I’ve just walked passed the Red Kettles without giving it much attention…that will never happen again. This is my first time to volunteer for the Red Kettle event, but definitely won’t be the last!”

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Laylah, 4 year old Kettle enthusiast

“Mommy, I want to put more (change) in,” said Laylah.
“I don’t have anymore!”
“Then let’s put your (credit) cards in there!”

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Lindsey Strong, PR Director, The Salvation Army

“While ringing the bell one chilly evening, this young lady walked up and offered me some hot chocolate! Her mom told me that it was her idea to give back this Christmas by driving around to all the bell ringers and giving them hot drinks. She quickly became my #redkettlereason!”

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What is your #redkettlereason?

“We want to ring the bell to help everyone have a great Christmas and warm clothes because everyone deserves to have the things they need!” Kalli (8) and Teagan (6)

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Pi Beta Phi Sorority

Congratulations on being our Panhellenic #redkettlecompetitions Champions! We hope you guys enjoyed our yummy kettle-corn prize!

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Dawn Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant, The Salvation Army

“As I was ringing the bells with my kids, a gentleman walked up to the Kettle. He said that he was homeless, but that he had stayed at The Salvation Army in the past and they were good to him. He wanted to give all that he had, but all that he had was $.11. He put it in, and I told him that his $.11 was worth a million to us because he gave everything that he had.” 

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Fayetteville native, Natalie Counce speaking at the 2015 Rock the Red Kettle Event in L.A.!

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Vai Talau

December 16, 2015

Vai is a senior at Fayetteville High School. He is a member of the FHS wrestling team and works hard in school! He loves to hang out with his friends and wants to make a big difference for the hurting and broken in his community.

If you were one of Santa’s reindeer, which would you be?
I would definitely want to be Rudolph. Because one, that’s the only reindeer I know. And because he is different; he’s an exception in the group of reindeer. Everyone made fun of him, but he is the difference maker!

Does your family have a traditional holiday food that is unique?
We cook duck instead of turkey. Duck to me is like a finer chicken- it’s amazing! Once I ate it, I was hooked. We roast it, just like a turkey, but it’s a duck.

How would you describe yourself in three adjectives?
Compassionate: It’s how I was raised. I have a lot of sympathy for people- my heart really goes out to them. I really do enjoy helping others.
Reckless: Cause I am young! I don’t really make dumb decisions but I think [being reckless] is a part of being a teenager.
Funny: Not to be cliché, but I think I’m funny!


Who is your role model and why?
Definitely my mother, because she perseveres through everything. She motivates me every day. Even though she drives me crazy sometimes, I still love her to death. She’s made it through it all, really. Through impossible [situations], she made it possible. I really look up to her for what she has come through, what she is doing for our family, and for raising me to be the man I am today.

How did you get involved with The Salvation Army?
During the summer, I always drive past it going to my friend’s house. I’ve always had a calling to go help the homeless and get involved in the community. I got my friend Kelson and asked him if he wanted to embark on a new adventure with me. So we went out and signed up to do volunteer work at The Salvation Army.

My heart brought me to The Salvation Army: I got a call and I can feel it in my soul. This is what I want to do in life. This is an avenue that I want to pursue. I want to get into helping the community and then I want to be a voice for the people.

I would love to go to school to be a Human Right’s Attorney and a Psychologist. Put that together and I can help folks and defend them. I want to be someone they can go to.

The first time I served there we worked for a little bit alongside a staff member and then took a break. During that break, he told me his life story: how he was an alcoholic, how bad his childhood and family were, and how the program worked for him. He gave me a fresh perspective. He had it rough, and he makes me want to help. Every time I serve, we end up talking about our life stories, and every time it’s like a new light bulb in my head. It’s a humbling experience. It changes my perspective because I always talk to someone new.


What is your #redkettlereason?

I want to make a difference in a corrupt society. I want to help give people a hand up, give them a hand that no one ever gives them. I have a call, and I want to be the hand that picks them up.

I love helping others! Giving someone hope they’ve never had before is great, because you know you helped that person feel better that day. You make a difference in people’s lives; that’s why I do it.

What advice would you give to another student who wants to make a difference in NWA?
Step out of yourself and consider [taking on] a fresh perspective. It’s hard in high school because the notion is that everyone is trying to jump-start their lives. They are wrapped up in themselves and are wrapped up in their lives. My advice is to really think about how you can help someone else. You can donate money. Or think about your skills: what can you do, build, or create to help another person? You can give people hope and purpose.

My role is to influence others, not force, but influence them.

You can create a spark in someone’s mind. The best way is to [serve] together with someone. It’s not about ‘you’ or ‘I’, it’s about us. It’s hard to get a revolution going, but my role is to demonstrate [service] so that they can join. I know a lot of kids that do want to help. It’s not conventional, but we want to make a change.


Bill Copelin

December 10, 2015

Bill is a Northwest Arkansas native and has been working at JB Hunt for 30 years! He began as a Management Trainee in 1985 and is now the VP of Transportation. He and his wife have one son and are avid supporters of The Salvation Army! He currently serves on the Advisory Board.

If you were one of Santa’s reindeer, which would you be?
Blitzen- it’s the only one I can remember besides Rudolph!

What Holiday song lights up your holiday season?
So I like two more traditional songs: “White Christmas” and “Silver Bells”. But I also love “Silent Night”. And “Oh, Holy Night”. Mariah Carey really sings that well!!

How would you describe yourself in three adjectives?
Predictable: Because I see the relevance of doing things a certain way that give you a better outcome. So I trace those steps just about every day.
Persistent: If I believe in something, my passion goes with my vision.
Strategic: I am more of a big picture and ideas kind of guy!


Who is your role model and why?
As a Christian, I would say Jesus is my role model. It builds my faith just hearing his words, “only believe”. He makes it simple, and then he goes out and does it to show us that it’s possible. And I think it can be done. In my life, I have seen instances where miracles took place, and it’s through everyday people.

That’s part of what I really like about The Salvation Army. Their services offer an environment where people are generally more relaxed. Needs are more apparent, and regardless of the gifts you’ve been given, there’s a place for that gift. They find where it interacts with the needs in the world. We all have needs that must be met, and only the Gospel can do that.

How did you get involved with The Salvation Army?
One day I was here and I was going to lunch. I felt a prompting of the Holy Spirit to call the Salvation Army Corps in Springdale and offer to take them lunch. I called, took their order and showed up.

I really thought I would go in for 10 minutes and go on my way, and my day would be complete.

But when I walked in there, they told me that the electricity went out in their kitchen that day, and they would have had to do without lunch. “It’s so interesting that God put it on your heart to bring us lunch”, the officers said. I looked around and saw the people being served and the officers, and I could see that there was more than enough to go around in trying to reach the needs. So one thing led to another and here I am… 10 years later!

I went home and told my wife about it, and we decided to begin attending [The Salvation Army] church. We taught Sunday School and got to know people. Lives that needed to know that they mattered, from the old and weak to the young and vulnerable. It’s a very worthwhile walk that The Salvation Army does for each community: it’s invaluable.


What is your #redkettlereason?

The Salvation Army is God’s hands and feet, his heart and his voice. Of the organization’s I know they are the ones who most holistically reach out to those who are vulnerable.

We see pictures of people, but there are stories behind every person that really connect us. That really means something. There was a young boy who could not get close enough to my wife and me when we went to church there. His brother had special needs. They were early adolescence, and we noticed that they would eat a lot at the church potlucks. We found out that their parents were getting government assistance, but they weren’t using the money to pay for the boys’ lunch at school. They were hungry. The Salvation Army stepped in and made sure that those boys got lunches at school.

Another day I was there, this mother came in and she was frantic. It was freezing outside.  She had two or three little kids. A few things had tripped her up; she was a working single mother, but she just couldn’t pay her bills that month. The heat was going to be turned off, and she needed a miracle that day. The Salvation Army stepped in and paid her heating bill and kept her kids from being cold. That’s a miracle for that family.

I also know a number of people who have gone through the drug and rehabilitation program. I have seen people, who were affluent enough to have their own business and family, but tragedy struck and their ability to cope with it put them in a situation where they lost everything. They were humble enough to go through the Christian Drug and Rehabilitation Program that The Salvation Army supplies. Now they are working, back on their feet, and building back their lives.

What advice would you give to another business man or woman who wants to make a difference in NW Arkansas?

Get involved. Make a commitment. Step out of your schedules and be intentional!

You can give of your time, talents and resources in your home, neighborhood or workplace. Be ready in season and out whether it’s convenient or not. When I was young, I was more wrapped up in my career. It took time for God to soften me and show me that I can give back and live my faith.


Is there anything you would like to add?
I want to express my gratitude to all the people who give fully of themselves in their love for mankind. Those who let go of the world and hold onto the Kingdom. The Salvation Army is a great example of that. One man cared about the souls of people in England, and because of his vision [The Salvation Army] is now around the world.

It goes to show you that nothing is impossible with God.