Breaking Free With The Salvation Army

By Jeremy Park

Last week we offered a prayer of support and a personal “thank you” to our military and all of the other brave men and women, who place their lives on the line each day to protect our freedoms. This week let us highlight an organization that is known for “doing the most good” and working everyday to fight hunger, homelessness, addiction, poverty and abuse: The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army began in London in 1865. Evangelist William Booth started a crusade to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute by going into the streets and ministering directly to the people. In 1879, The Salvation Army came to the United States and the movement gained momentum throughout the country. Globally, the organization now provides services in more than 124 countries.

The Salvation Army in Memphis was established in 1900 by five local churches – First Presbyterian, Second Presbyterian, First Congregational Church, First Methodist and Central Baptist – that each provided start-up funding. For more than 111 years, The Salvation Army’s ministry has remained a consistent presence in our community. Each day, they serve more than 500 meals to hungry individuals and provide shelter for about 250 men, women and children. They also offer rehabilitation services for women and men, along with arts, education and recreational activities, and worship. In terms of local impact, last year more than 33,700 people were served with 69,224 nights of lodging and 241,661 served meals.

The Salvation Army focuses on three key areas: Relief, Renewal and Response. They provide immediate Relief through programs and services, like disaster recovery with mobile canteens, an Emergency Family Shelter, Single Women’s Lodge, Food Pantry/Mobile Meals Ministry, Christmas Angel Tree, an air conditioning drive, veterans and hospital visitations, and some direct financial assistance. They focus on Renewal and long-term growth at their Renewal Place, Adult Rehabilitation Center, Family Worship Centers and Kroc Community Center. Response is geared toward raising public awareness and helping their efforts through donations, volunteering, adopting an angel, or supporting special events.

Seasonal programs, like their Red Kettle Campaign, Angel Tree and Summer Camp are easy and fun opportunities to volunteer and help the efforts of The Salvation Army. On April 19, they will be hosting their 2012 Annual Dinner at the Hilton Memphis. The keynote speaker will be the legendary running back, Herschel Walker, who among countless accolades, earned the Heisman Trophy in 1982 and led the NFL in rushing with the Dallas Cowboys. His book, “Breaking Free,” will set the theme for the inspirational evening. Tickets are still available, so if you would like more information, contact Amy Beth Dudley at 260-9120 or

Learn more about The Salvation Army and how you can help make a difference by visiting

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at