This time of year is exciting for many children as they prepare to go back to school and rejoin their friends. The excitement of new teachers and new classes is only matched by eagerness to show off their new clothes and tell stories of the summer.
It can be extraordinarily difficult however for children living in The Salvation Army shelter.
"The hardest part was knowing that the other kids in school could go home to their neighborhood to play with their friends and had their own rooms and own beds to sleep in, but I had to go back to the shelter. I was thankful to have somewhere to stay but it made me feel sad too."
Homelessness is especially hard on youth, in particular when it comes to relationships with their peers. While I am happy to share with you the positive aspects of our program that allow children some distraction during this difficult time, the most important aspect of our program remains the commitment to place these families in permanent homes.
Thanks to your generosity, there has been progress. Programs you have funded have resulted in a 20% reduction in homeless children in the Richmond area this year. However, there are still children in our school systems sitting quietly at their desks with the secret and shame of homelessness. By supporting our program you are providing a child with counseling, after school tutoring and ultimately....housing.
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life talks about "the stewardship of influence." He suggests that In Psalm 72, Solomon's prayer asks God for influence, not for his power or status however. Influence, so that "I may help the oppressed, care for the poor, reach out to the sick, defend the defenseless, care for the widows and orphans." As donors, officers, staff and volunteers of The Salvation Army, God has blessed us with influence so that we may invest in, speak up for and help those who may not have it.
One hundred years after our founder's death, the genius of William Booth's mission remains at the heart of The Salvation Army's presence in our communities. Please consider helping us send a homeless child back to school this year with not only school supplies or clothing, but hope for a home and a better future. Thank you for your compassion as we reach out to save souls and provide ministry to the homeless and most vulnerable children and their families.
If you would like to contribute, you can do so online here, or by calling (804) 591-3816.