The Salvation Army Helps the Less Fortunate to Have a Merry Christmas

The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division is preparing to make Christmas 2009 a happy occasion for thousands of Chicagoans who are without family or resources. Army Corps Community Centers in the Greater Chicago area are distributing more than 9,000 Christmas food baskets containing traditional holiday food to people in need.Additionally, thousands of children’s gifts – many donated to The Army as part of the Angel Tree Program – also are being presented to needy families.On Christmas Day, The Army’s Harbor Light Center, 1515 W. Monroe Street, will treat approximately 500 people to a Christmas meal with all the trimmings. A sit-down dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additionally, the center will deliver, as part of its Mobile Feeding Program, another 700 meals to homeless people spending Christmas in vacant city lots, under bridges, on Lower Wacker Drive, and elsewhere in Chicago.Not just at Christmas, but 365 days a year, The Salvation Army assists people in need by providing feeding programs for homeless people, children, and seniors; emergency lodging for families and individuals in crisis; disaster relief; substance abuse rehabilitation programs; youth programs; and early childhood development services.

Metro Youth Band Members to March in Rose Bowl Parade

Those watching the traditional New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Parade will see 45 members of The Salvation Army’s Metro Youth Band, which is on the trip of a lifetime in sunny Southern California, where daytime temperatures are in the mid-60s.The average age of the members of the Metropolitan Division band is 16. Many are from disadvantaged neighborhoods, have never been on a plane, let alone been to Pasadena, or any of the other California attractions where they will perform.This year’s Grand Marshall is Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, who piloted US Airways Flight 1549 that he landed in the Hudson River in January without a single loss of life.As the Chicago group joins other Salvation Army bands to form the 200-member strong Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band parading down Colorado Boulevard, they will play a mix of Broadway tunes, marches, Salvation Army music, jazz and Latin music.The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band is one of 21 elite bands in the historic Rose Bowl parade. Metro Youth Band members will also march in a parade in San Diego and perform at the Crystal Cathedral and at Disneyland.The Salvation Army currently has music programs in eight Chicago Public Schools, where students receive instrumental, vocal, drum line and keyboard instruction in addition to general classroom music. The mission of the Metropolitan Youth Band is to provide an outlet for young musicians and fellowship with other young musicians, while providing opportunities for musical growth and Christian, community-based service.Watch the parade, January 1, 2010 on ABC 7 Chicago at 10AM.Metropolitan Youth Band Website

More News From Haiti

The Salvation Army continues to mobilize personnel and resources to send to Haiti in response to Tuesday’s earthquake, which leveled much of Port-Au-Prince and killed and injured an unknown number of people.This morning (1/14), Salvation Army officers working in Port-Au-Prince reported that approximately 50 bodies were dropped off in front of The Salvation Army office. They also said there is an overwhelming need for food, water, and medical assistance at this time.The Salvation Army is readying resources to send to Haiti, including 44,000 pounds of emergency rations that are packaged and ready to move from the Midwest. Resources include:

  • 285,120 meals
  • 20 pallets, 66 boxes per pallet, each box weighing 33 pounds (each box has rice, soy and vitamins, and is plastic wrapped for disaster).

The Salvation Army is working with other agencies to identify appropriate air transportation to move the already-packaged food as quickly as possible.The first Salvation Army assessment team is awaiting passage in the Turks and Caicos Islands as air space into Haiti is currently limited to military transport. This team will support personnel already on-the-ground in Haiti, where The Salvation Army has had a presence since the 1950s.As with all such relief efforts, The Salvation Army’s initial focus, in addition to the safety and security of officers, staff and volunteers in Haiti, will be to assess the immediate needs of the people affected by the earthquake, then utilize its resources to mobilize and ship food, water and other critical necessities to where they are most needed.The Salvation Army has had a presence in Haiti since 1950 and its personnel were affected by the earthquake and are now working to assist people in need.The Salvation Army operates schools, clinics, hospital, feeding programs, children’s homes and church-related activities through some 60 Corps community centers across the country.One Salvation Army compound near Port-Au -rince experienced severe damage, including collapsed buildings; no one was injured in the collapse.The Salvation Army in Haiti is currently assessing damage and need throughout the country.Once damage and needs are assessed – and supplies arrive – The Salvation Army will begin distribution on a small scale of items including food, water and tents.For more informationDirector of Disaster Services for The Salvation Army in Haiti, Bob Poff, shares his story about the earthquake at ,, the latest information about The Salvation Army’s activity in Haiti, please visit or their Facebook pages at and