Salvation Army Civic Luncheon Features Bob Newhart and Announces New City of Chicago Partnership

The Salvation Army hosted its annual civic luncheon on May 12, and welcomed Chicago comedy legend Bob Newhart as its featured speaker.

The annual event celebrated a year of service delivered to the most vulnerable men, women and children throughout Chicago and the suburbs, and recognized the generous donors whose dedicated support makes those services possible. Every year the Army recognizes some of its most dedicated supporters, and this year recognized Harry and Mary Dolan and WBBM Radio’s Pat Cassidy.

The City of Chicago also shared more information about its new venture with The Salvation Army – the Shield of Hope. This facility is the City’s first rapid-response emergency homeless assessment and response center. This new center will provide families facing homelessness personalized service and support, and is a key part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Plan 2.0: A Home for Everyone.”

Alisa Rodriguez, Deputy Commissioner of Homelessness for the Department of Family and Support Services

Alisa Rodriguez, Deputy Commissioner of Homelessness for the Department of Family and Support Services, detailed the process by which the partnership came along and the reason the City sought out the Army.

“We reached out to The Salvation Army and Lt. Colonel Smith for help,” Rodriguez said. “After all, the Army is on the front lines serving people….giving them food and clothing. And taking them off the streets. And the officers and staff do it all with love and compassion.”

Luncheon guests saw the first renderings and blue print outlines of the new building.

But the day’s biggest highlight was Bob Newhart. He shared many stories about his life, including his support of The Salvation Army and the heartbreak, joy and stress of being a lifelong Cubs fan, culminating with a phone call to the Chicago Cubs to get more runs during last year’s playoff run. When he was done, he left the stage to a standing ovation.

All the funds raised during the luncheon directly support The Salvation Army’s services for those most in need throughout Chicagoland. For more information or to make a donation, visit

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