The New Wave of Service

Apr 21, 2021

Inside the heart of every Salvation Army volunteer is the desire to serve someone in need. When these individuals come together to answer their call to serve, powerful change is created!

That is why we call our volunteers: the army behind The Army.

    There is a special place in our hearts for the driven individuals who begin their volunteer work with The Salvation Army. Often times, these first-time supporters are children or young adults. Their creativity, passion and vision for supporting the local community is what continues to bring The Salvation Army mission to the next level! Without them, our successes would never grow and evolve.

Needs Have No Schedule(Sterling, IL):

     Imagine you are at home and it is nearing supper time. You begin to feel anxious because after working an additional shift, you have forgotten to have tonight's meal ready to go. Feeling frustrated and tired, you move to your cupboard in hopes of finding something to salvage. Your heart sinks and your mind begins to buzz in a panic after seeing that the shelves are all bare. Money is tight. You have worked so much in the past few days but you feel like you are making no progress. Every dollar you've collected goes away immediately to pay your normal rotation of bills and living costs. You cannot just run to store. You feel lost and helpless until you remember your local Salvation Army offers food assistance. Checking the time, you realize that no place is open this late. What can you do? 

Josh Olsen recognized this gap in his Salvation Army's services. He chose to become the change he hoped to see for his community, and he did so with a simple and effective solution! 

The young man came directly to Sterling's Captain David Amick with a project idea that would help earn his Eagle Scout Badge.

This idea? To set up a food box at the entrance of The Salvation Army. During the day the volunteers would make sure that it was full so that those in need could come and take what they need to get through difficult times that may fall outside of regular service hours. Josh knew that his community's needs have no schedule, and The Salvation Army now offers a new way to find Hope because of his volunteer work!

"We have seen this box being used more and more each day. We are extremely happy to be able to partner with Josh and make this wonderful project a reality. We would like to say how very much we appreciate his willing and giving spirit." - Capt. David Amick

Heart Knox (Galesburg, IL):

     The word community itself carries an implication of 'togetherness', but this isn't guaranteed and it isn't fostered over night. For a community to really join and connect, action has to lead as an example for more to follow. When others see their neighbors offer help to those in need, a sense of true community begins to form. Working together and offering help are trademark signs of a strong community, but seeing people actively make themselves open to every opportunity for serving another - that is a miraculous sight and blessed community. 

This type of community may sound fantastical, but Knox County Illinois has shown how incredibly dedicated its locals are to each other. In the past year alone many people from in and around The Salvation Army's 360 Life Center in Galesburg, have given their support - many of which have been youth & first-time volunteers!

8 year old Baylie and her 3 year old sister Harper are shown sitting next to the end result of Baylie's hard volunteer work. This work made her not only a treasured member of the Mayfield family but of the entire Knox County community. Baylie's unique volunteer efforts culminated in helping to provide gifts for 38 children/families through The Salvation Army's local angel tree program. This was almost 10% of the total number of angels enrolled through this program in 2020.

How did Baylie make this immense contribution to The Salvation Army's Christmas program?

She collected scrap metal with her dad, Eric, as well as cash donations. Baylie embraced the giving season by speaking to anyone in her community that would listen and help to raise awareness about the Angel Tree program. She and her mom, Bridget, shopped for every single angel with the funds Baylie raised.

 “Knowing that I was helping others to have a nice Christmas is the best part!” - Baylie Mayfield

Paige Johnson is another young volunteer who cares about Doing The Most Good. She has shown no signs of slowing down in her efforts to support those in need around Galesburg & Knox County. Paige has held 3 food drives for The Salvation Army local food pantry in the past year.

Her efforts have supported the pantry shelves, care packages, to-go boxes and so many other services offered to her neighbors in need.

Paige proudly made Easter celebrations even better by donating over 200 food and toiletry items. She is so young but already setting an inspirational example for others in her community to follow!


When does someone become a leader?

Our local youth have proven that leaders are not bound by an age, only proven by their actions!

Knoxville High School students did not hesitate when presented the opportunity to help their community. These driven young adults stepped up as local leaders in change by offering hand-to-hand service. For 2 days these individuals helped The Salvation Army hand out donated meals & blankets to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instilling the values of service and unity into next generation is very important and the results are often unseen. The Salvation Army is blessed to be an organization that witnesses, first-hand, the amazing impacts that youth & first-time volunteers create: not only on those they serve, but on the organizations they support. For National Volunteer Week, we thank the new wave of volunteers who discover a purpose in serving those in need!

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