Caring for Shmecka and Her Family

Dec 1, 2020

Shmecka, a mom in Gary, Indiana, says The Salvation Army has broken her – in a good way. “You’ve shown me I don’t have to be strong all the time, that it’s okay to reach out for help when I need it,” she said. “I’ve never seen a group of people care so much. I call you all before I call my own family!”

The mom of 11 and grandmother of 2 was first introduced to The Salvation Army 10 years ago. “You all came at a time when I didn’t have much,” she said. “You opened me up to new resources and helped put me on my feet.”

Shmecka’s family started going to church at the Gary-Merrillville Salvation Army Corps Community Center, where her kids got involved in the youth programs. “Those programs have opened my kids up,” she said. They’ve played different instruments in the Army’s band, attended summer camps, and become friends with kids of different ethnic backgrounds, Shmecka said. “I see the joy on their faces when they come home from these programs,” she said. “It’s impacted them a lot.”

When Shmecka learned about the Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts to children, teens, and seniors who wouldn’t receive them otherwise, she said her reaction was “Oooh, thank you! Now I don’t have to worry.” She and her husband have done what they can to provide for the family, but sometimes making ends meet is a challenge.

“Angel Tree has been a blessing to my kids,” she said, remembering some of their favorite gifts over the years, including jewelry, clothes, and make-up kits. One daughter, a budding artist, received a nice art kit, which Shmecka says she cherished.

The family has also received food baskets, holiday meals, even new beds. And they’ve enjoyed the relationships they’ve built with the officers at the Gary corps over the years. “They always seem to gravitate to my kids,” Shmecka said, adding she’s grateful when others help care for and love on her children.

“The Salvation Army, y’all are my guardian angel,” Shmecka said. “No matter where I might move in the future, I’m always going to find myself a Salvation Army.”

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For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.

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