Freedom Center a ‘blessing’ for West Humboldt Park

Longtime West Humboldt Park residents Michelle Towns and Ricky Allen have a soft spot in their hearts for youth.

“My goal was the opportunity for them to come and do something, have something to do,” Ricky said.

After realizing how little there was for neighborhood kids to do, Michelle and Ricky created a baseball team. The two taught local kids the fundamentals of the game and they were eager to learn according to Michelle.

“This is something they can be connected to.” – Ricky Allen

Michelle has been a true partner in helping The Salvation Army decide which programs to bring into the neighborhood with the new Freedom Center, according to Captain Nancy Powers.

“It’s a blessing from heaven, an angel from above that lead them to put it right here.” – Ricky Allen

Thomas Murphy’s Salvation Army Story

Whether it’s gumbo, seafood, fried chicken or “pretty much anything fried,” Thomas Murphy loves to cook it.

He was raised by his grandmother in a cafe in Noxapater, Mississippi, where he started working at 8 years old. He always loved cooking, so he did a lot of it.

Working for the railroad in 1978, Murphy ended up in Chicago. His wife passed away after battling cancer for seven years, which propelled him into his own battle, struggling with heroin addiction.

“You don’t really know who to turn to for grief. So you reach out for something, and I just reached out for the wrong thing.”

Homeless, living in a tent on Wilson Avenue, Murphy turned to The Salvation Army where he found his place again, as a chef.

Today, Thomas Murphy is the head chef at The Freedom Center.

He always loved cooking, and now he gets to do a lot of it.

Comfort Food from Project PB&J

Project PB&J® believes that a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich can change the world. Their belief was put into action on Friday, May 15th when they teamed with MEG (Marketing Executives Group) to make over 3,000 sandwiches for The Salvation Army. Harbor Light Center, Two Are Better Than One and Chicago Kroc Center received 1,000 sandwiches each, to help feed those in need. Our deepest thanks to Project PB&J and to Charles Ballard and the wonderful MEG team for helping us reach out to those in need of kindness.

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The Salvation Army Responds to Devastating Earthquake in Nepal

Immediate and long-term efforts in place for relief and recovery

Alexandria, VA (April 26, 2015) –The Salvation Army is mobilizing emergency response personnel and supplies after a devastating 7.8-magnitude Earthquake in Nepal that flattened homes and buildings, causing widespread damage across the region and killing more than 2,000 people.

“We are initiating a response to meet basic, urgent needs with shelter, food, water, and other necessary relief items. We ask supporters to please pray for the people of Nepal,” said Lieutenant Colonel William Mockabee, Director of The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO).

With more than 75 offices throughout the country, volunteers and staff are well prepared to service the immediate and long-term needs of those impacted by natural disasters. Since 1882, The Salvation Army has served the people of India.

“Donations from the generous public will help provide basic necessities that survivors desperately need right now,” said Lt. Colonel Ron Busroe, The Salvation Army’s National Community Relations and Development Secretary. “But the effects of this tragedy will be felt for months – even years. We know that emotional and spiritual counseling is equally important for survivors to deal with the gravity of the situation.”

Monetary donations are the most critical need for survivors. The Salvation Army has set up a designated fund where 100 percent of gifts go to relief efforts in Nepal.

Cash Donations:
To give, visit or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
Donations by check to Salvation Army World Service Office can be sent to:
Salvation Army World Service Office
International Relief Fund
P.O. Box 418558
Boston, MA 02241-8558
Mark checks “Nepal Earthquake”

Donations of Household Good and Clothing (In-kind Donations):

If you want to help those in Nepal, monetary donations are really the only option. Due to the emergency situation, The Salvation Army will not be able to take any individual donations of household goods or clothing (gifts-in-kind) to the disaster area. PLEASE continue to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army store. You will help your community and help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to

Salvation Army Serves Hundreds of Meals Out of Canteens, Provides Emotional and Spiritual Support at Shelter and Resource Center

“As local residents begin to re-enter the neighborhoods, trained Salvation Army workers and volunteers will be here to offer comfort, prayer and hope for healing as they grieve their loss and seek the strength to rebuild.”

Rockford, IL – Teams of Salvation Army disaster workers and volunteers have worked in shifts around the clock since arriving on the scene of the tornado devastation on Thursday evening. The Salvation Army has stationed an 18-foot-long, mobile commercial-grade field kitchen outside their Rockford corps community center, where staff and volunteers spent yesterday preparing meals of fried chicken, ravioli, spaghetti and deli sandwiches.

So far, more than 280 meals; 260 bottles of water, Gatorade and coffee; and more than 100 snacks have been served out of The Salvation Army’s mobile canteen, stationed at the disaster operations staging area on Main Street, just south of Highway 72 outside of Kirkland. The Salvation Army will remain at the site in the days ahead, and as long as needed, not only to provide sustenance, nourishment and encouragement to first responders, but to serve to local residents who will gradually begin to re-enter the area today and assess the tornado’s impact.

In Rochelle, staff and volunteers from The Salvation Army’s Heartland Division, based in Peoria, have been serving meals out of canteens at several additional locations. They have also been serving local residents at the shelter and multi-agency resource center set up at Rochelle High School and at a second center the United Methodist Church on 4th Avenue.

“As residents begin to come back into their neighborhoods today, and witness the tornado’s devastation to their homes and communities, reality begins to truly sink in, so this is a very traumatic and fragile time,” says Major David Dalberg, Emergency Disaster Services Director of The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. “Our staff and volunteers are specially trained to provide sensitive, caring emotional and spiritual support. We will be here to offer nourishment, not only for the body, but for the soul, coming alongside them and offering comfort and hope for healing as they grieve their losses and seek the strength to rebuild. We will pray with those who seek solace and hope through their faith.”

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service (EDS) teams from Rockford, Elk Grove Village, Peoria and Carpentersville have been serving around the clock since being deployed on Thursday afternoon. The teams arrived as soon as it was safe to proceed into the communities hardest hit by the tornadoes.

Monetary donations are needed to support first responders & victims of this and future disasters.

The quickest and most effective way to support the efforts of The Salvation Army in times like this is by making an online donation at or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

To make an automatic $10 donation to support local Salvation Army disaster response efforts you can also text SACHICAGO to 80888 *. Donors may also mail a check to The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division, 5040 N. Pulaski, Chicago, Il, 60630.

One hundred percent of your donations will be used to provide food, water, clothing and other support for survivors and first responders of this and future disasters.

Due to the high expense and time demands associated with delivering donated items (gifts-in-kind), The Salvation Army cannot guarantee that any donated items can be sent to the disaster area at this time. In times of disaster, our thrift stores fill these needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. By continuing to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army store, you not only help your community, you help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to

*One-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. You may receive a bounceback text message confirming your text message was received. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. All charges are payable to your mobile service provider. Available on Verizon Wireless, At&t, Sprint, and T-Mobile. By participating you certify that you are 18 yrs or older or have account holder permission. Privacy Policy: Text STOP to 80888 to stop; Text HELP to 80888 for help.