By Joanna Estrada
The Salvation Army Relations
The Salvation Army in El Paso is excited to celebrate National Salvation Army Week, May 15-21, 2023. This year marks 125 years that The Salvation Army has faithfully and consistently worked to help those in need in our community, providing financial assistance to families and individuals who may find themselves in crisis, shelter to those experiencing homelessness, food for the hungry, and much more.
The first National Salvation Army Week was declared by the United States Congress and proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, as a reminder to Americans to give freely of themselves. In his speech, President Eisenhower said:
“Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood. In time of war, the men and women of this organization have brought to those serving their country far from home, friendliness, and warm concern. In the quieter days of peace, their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans. Giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”
Today, The Salvation Army is at work in more than 130 countries around the world. Here in the Sun City, The Salvation Army is issuing a rallying cry for El Pasoans to “Love Beyond.” The organization’s message is simply that when we love beyond the circumstances of life, we can provide hope and help for millions who need it: love beyond shelter, love beyond hunger, love beyond disasters.
“National Salvation Army Week presents a wonderful opportunity for us to let the community know more about the work of The Salvation Army in El Paso,” said Claiborne Gallagher, Chair of the Advisory Board. “We want to recognize and celebrate the partners, supporters, and volunteers who make the ministry of the Army possible and invite everyone to join us as we celebrate National Salvation Army Week.”
Volunteers are the “Army behind the Army,” a collective force that makes a significant contribution to the organization’s impact in El Paso. Volunteers help support programs and special projects year-round at The Salvation Army. In 2022, volunteers donated 6,138.57 hours!
One of the top volunteer groups for the Red Kettle Campaign is the National Junior Honor Society of Hornedo Middle School. This group raised $5,777 through virtual volunteering, sharing donation links through email and social media to encourage family and friends towards charitable giving. Among the NJHS participants, two students took this virtual fundraising challenge to the next level.
13-year old Anniker Mier raised $1,037. She said that her volunteer work was very rewarding. “It was a good way to connect with family and friends who live out of town to get them involved with my community.”
Sienna Castanon, also 13, raised $1,227. As a middle school student with extra-curricular activities, she explained that it could be challenging finding time to volunteer, but “it was so worth it!”
It has been said that “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” This statement perfectly describes these two young students but also the thousands who give their time, talents, and resources to support the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army in El Paso.
“We could always use more volunteers, and there are many opportunities to serve with us throughout the year, not just during the Christmas season” says Major Floiran Estrada, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army in El Paso. Volunteers can help at the food pantry, family thrift store, and migrant services.
“What better time than National Salvation Army Week to make a difference in someone else’s life?” asks Major Estrada. “It just might make an even bigger difference in yours.”
With 125 years of serving El Paso County, The Salvation Army is committed to continue its mission to meet human needs in God’s name without discrimination.
For more information, or to make a donation, please call The Salvation Army of El Paso at 915-544-9811 or visit southernusa.salvationarmy.org/elpaso.