Almost 60 years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed National Salvation Army Week a time to recognize the huge role the organization at the time played in supporting troops during World War I.
Decades later, the scope of the Salvation Army has expanded, but its mission of service hasn’t wavered.
And, National Salvation Army Week has become a time when entire communities can focus on uplifting an organization that in turn supports so many others.
“Salvation Armies all across America will be celebrating and observing National Salvation Army Week in unique ways,” say Ryan Ray, director of development for the Salvation Army of Clark County.
Locally, the Salvation Army of Clark County
has partnered with 19 Springfield and Clark County restaurants to support National Salvation Army Week from May 8-14.
“Every penny raised from May 8-12 will go toward helping to fund a camp for special needs kids from Clark County for six weeks this summer,” Ray says. “The kids do activities and go on field trips with handpicked counselors. The field trips are great, but the relationships and love and warmth they feel coming from the counselors is really what it’s about.
“And, the camp not only allows the kids to have a great summer, but it also allows for a break for their parents because they can have a place where they can ensure their kids are in good hands and being cared for.”
For National Salvation Army Week, some eateries – including Young’s Jersey Dairy and Winan’s Chocolates & Coffee
– will have specialty items in honor of the week, from which all or a portion of the proceeds will go to the local Salvation Army. Others, including Los Mariachi’s
, Le Torte Dolci
and Casa Del Sabor
, will donate a percentage of certain items or total orders.
“Lots of these businesses are excited to do this, and lots of them asked me if they could get in on it,” Ray says. “It speaks to the core of who these establishments are and how they see their role in it. It’s how they take care of their community.”
Ray says it was intentional to partner not only with businesses in Springfield but also throughout the county, such as Cantanzaro’s Carriage Inn Restaurant
in Enon, 571 Grille & Draft House
in New Carlisle, The Last Queen
in Enon, and Catawba General Store
“Because we’re physically located in Springfield people think we only serve Springfield, but we service all of Clark County,” Ray says. “It’s important that we partner within the different towns and villages that make up Clark County because we are very much involved and trying to help improve the quality of life of all the people in Clark County.”
Additionally, Daniel Blevins of the Modern Woodman of America Local Springfield Chapter
will match up to $2,500 in proceeds from the business donations with patron purchases.
“The goal is for all 19 of these businesses collectively to at least hit that mark to get the benefit of that matching grant because that’s a pretty cool thing, and I hope that motivates people,” Ray says.
The week will kick off Monday, May 8, with a proclamation from Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland, followed by deliveries of treats to the Springfield Fire Rescue Division, the Springfield Police Division, and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office as a thank you for their service.
You’ll see deputies and Park National Bank employees wearing “Love Has an Army” buttons, and other places may show their support by wearing red and white, Ray says. And, the banners throughout Downtown Springfield will also be traded out to celebrate National Salvation Army Week.
The Salvation Army, Ray says, is commonly associated with the Christmas-time red kettles and supporting local families with Christmas presents for kids. But, that is only a small part of all the work the Salvation Army does in our community.
The Salvation Army has established itself as a fundamental piece of what makes up communities across the U.S., providing services to every zip code in the country.
Though programming varies between locations, Ray says, The Salvation Army of Clark County's services include rent and mortgage assistance, a choice pantry, electrical assistance, a drop-in center to serve hot meals, family martial arts classes, programs for at risk youth, the Clark County Senior Citizens Task Force, a camp for kids with special needs, and much more.
“Because people don’t carry as much cash with them as they used to and aren’t physically going to stores like before, we have to get creative and seize opportunities for fundraising, and National Salvation Army Week allows us to do that.”