The local Salvation Army is celebrating National Salvation Army Week this week with lots of fun activities for the children in the Red Shield Club as the organization continues to provide valuable services and programs to the larger community.
Red Shield Club Director Gina Eaves said club members are participating in activities ranging from creating murals and poetry to learning what it’s like to be an officer in the Salvation Army from Capt. Derrick Smith, who, along with his wife, Capt. Odessa Smith, leads the local organization in Henderson.
And the children have been learning about Salvation Army history, which includes a connection with donuts, Eaves said in an interview on Wednesday’s Town Talk with Bill Harris. Capt. Derrick Smith joined his colleague to talk about some of the Salvation Army’s activities as it celebrates its centennial in Henderson.
“Donuts have a place in Salvation Army history,” she said. Volunteers were dispatched to provide emotional and spiritual support to soldiers in France during World War I. In addition to the moral support, the Salvation Army volunteers also provided – you guessed it – donuts to the troops.
The Red Shield club no doubt was filled with the aroma of freshly baked Krispy Kremes on Monday as the children learned a little history about the organization.
Smith said it’s that spiritual component that separates the Red Shield Club from other after-school programs. The youth ministries programs are Christ-focused and the children, who range in age from 5 to 15, learn about salvation through the club programs and devotions.
“We are enthused and excited about that,” Smith said.
Eaves said she values feedback from the youth as well and their input plays an integral role in programming. “If they’re having fun, we’re all having fun,” she said. It is important to meet the children’s needs on a spiritual level as well as physically, emotionally and educationally. Weaving the spiritual aspect into the programming is intentional, Eaves added.
The club has more than 100 members. Eaves said the club meets the needs of the children and the needs of the community.
But the Salvation Army’s focus also lies in meeting the human needs in the community, Smith said. There are several upcoming opportunities for area residents that are happening at or near the Salvation Army, located at 2292 Ross Mill Rd.
The monthly community food box distribution will take place tomorrow (Thursday, May 12) from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Salvation Army parking lot. Smith said there would probably be about 250 families who stop in for a box.
Many of these families may be facing food insecurity, Smith said, adding that more senior adults seem to be taking advantage of the monthly distribution.
“Our boxes are definitely made with love,” Smith said, adding that the donations of food that local individuals make help. “We appreciate those donations because they go a long way,” he said.
The Salvation Army will host another Medassist giveaway on June 17, which distributes over-the-counter medications at no charge to folks who drive up or place an online order in advance.
The mission of the Salvation Army is to meet human needs, Smith said. Whether people need baby formula or pet food, Smith and his Salvation Army volunteers strive to help however they can.
He said the local Schewels recently conducted a diaper drive and collected hundreds of diapers that the Salvation Army could then offer to families who needed them.
“If we have it, we certainly want to give it to those who need it the most,” Smith said.
This weekend marks a two-day event that will occur next door to the Salvation Army at Vance Charter School. The RAM Medical Clinic will set up shop and conduct free health, dental and vision exams and procedures free of charge.
See https://www.ramusa.org/clinic-schedule/ for more information about the clinic.